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Rams 2021 draft: LA holds Zoom meeting with small school offensive lineman

Early news trickling in of Rams draft interests

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 30 Senior Bowl Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The LA Rams have held a pre-draft Zoom meeting with Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz, according to Justin Melo of The Draft Network. Normally a D-III player wouldn’t be of great interest to teams looking for day two upgrades, especially when they didn’t play last season, but Meinerz became a Senior Bowl star last month.

Meinerz stood at 6’3 and weighed 320 lbs at the Senior Bowl, with an 82” wingspan that eclipsed most of the other interior offensive linemen at the showcase. By comparison, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey is 6 feet, 4 5/8 inches, 312 lbs, 79.5” wingspan.

The sub-FBS season was cancelled and Meinerz hadn’t played a game in over a year prior to the Senior Bowl, but a unique offseason training regiment helped him prepare for this draft season, per a Yahoo Sports report last month:

This is a man who is used to taking it to an extreme, spending most past summers working out alone in a remote part of Canada, where he had only one hour per day of internet access. It was there the 6-foot-3 1/4, 320-pound Meinerz underwent his annual “Rocky IV”-like regimen of clearing brush, rolling 400-pound fuel tanks and clearing trees.

After that eight-hour daily routine, helping his uncle run a popular fly-fishing spot up there, only then Meinerz got around to his football workout. There were no weights. So he improvised, pushing giant rocks. And some of those trees? If they were small enough, he’d just do it with his bare hands.

“Hitting wood wasn’t the most fun thing I had to do up there, but it was what I had,” he told NFL Network on Thursday.

Meinerz’ former offensive line teammate Nate Trewyn has been on the Rams practice squad for the last two years and he had positive words to say about him too:

“He always liked to ... let the belly breathe,” Trewyn said.

Meinerz could be a center at the next level, a great area of need for the LA Rams. Trewyn also talked about why it doesn’t surprise him that Meinerz could make an easy transition from guard to center:

When they played together with the Warhawks, Trewyn was the center and Meinerz the left guard. The Warhawks averaged nearly 6 rushing yards per attempt, rolled up nearly 42 points per game and finished 13-1, losing only in the national title game to Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas).

Trewyn isn’t surprised at Meinerz’s rise since then. Meinerz emerged as an NFL prospect during his junior season in 2019 after which scouts gave him mostly later-round draft grades. Now after a strong start at the Senior Bowl, Meinerz is one of the best stories from this year’s game.

“Everyone who knows him knows about his work ethic, and having worked alongside him, I can tell you it’s real,” Trewyn said. “But what’s impressive to me is how well he’s doing at center. It’s hard to go from guard to never playing center and taking your first center reps at the Senior Bowl, going up against the top guys in your class.

“I can’t tell you how hard that is for most people to make that adjustment. He’s just been phenomenal so far. But then again, knowing him, I am not surprised either.”

It’s difficult to say at this point where Meinerz will be drafted, but seeing the Rams — who are expected to hold three day two picks and have long favored Senior Bowl participants — show interest right now is not surprising.