The Gut ‘lets the belly breathe’

Illustration for article titled The Gut ‘lets the belly breathe’
Screenshot: Denver Broncos

Quinn Meinerz gives us all belly laughs — literally

You may or may not be familiar with Denver Broncos third-round draft pick Quinn Meinerz. If you aren’t, you need to be. Meinerz, who was an offensive lineman at Division III University of Wisconsin Whitewater, rocketed up draft boards throughout the pre-draft process. He dominated with a physical playstyle against Division III competition, but it was at the Reese’s Senior Bowl where he helped his case.

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Meinerz showed up in great shape, and against defensive lineman from Power 5 schools, put on a clinic. Take a look at the below video of Meinerz absolutely destroying Patrick Jones II out of University of Pittsburgh. Jones went in the third round to the Minnesota Vikings.

Also of note in that clip — the gut.

“That gut, I’ve always had it,” Meinerz said during an interview at the Senior Bowl. “My nickname in high school was The Gut. My nickname in Whitewater was The Gut. It was hot and humid (that week), and I always say I like to let the belly breathe.”

Meinerz didn’t have a senior season due to the NCAA not allowing DIII football programs to play because of COVID-19. No players from the WIAC conference, where UW-Whitewater calls home, have been drafted since 2007. The last offensive lineman to do it was Pete Lucas of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 30 years ago.

Meinerz, however, proved that he belongs during his Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala.

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“Yeah, it’s pretty impossible when you sign up to go D-III,” Meinerz said in an interview with The Athletic in April. “It made it even harder not having a season (in 2020). Where I’m at now is pretty extreme.”

Turns out, it’s not impossible. Meinerz, with his physical dominance during Senior Bowl week and his absurdly good testing numbers at his Pro Day, did what was needed to secure not only getting drafted, but getting drafted early.

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According to PFF, Meinerz tested in the 100th percentile in the 40-yard dash (4.86 sec), 92nd percentile in the three-cone (7.33 sec), 90th percentile in the shuttle run (4.47 sec), broad jump (111”), and 10-yard split (1.73 sec), and 89th percentile in the vertical jump (32”).

Today, at the Denver Broncos’ rookie minicamp, The Gut once again took center stage.

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He’s much more than a personality and a crop top — the Broncos and their fans will hope that Meinerz becomes an anchor on their offensive line, protecting… whoever their long term answer at quarterback will be.