The 2021 NFL Draft is just four weeks away. This year’s selections will be unlike any other. Teams will have to decipher between players that have plenty of college experience under their belt, or they may be taking a gamble on a player who has not played a game in a year and a half. Due to the pandemic, several players opted out completely from a 2020 season, or were limited to minimal games altogether. The players we will be focusing on today fit both sides of that coin, to a degree. That would be Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz.
Both of these players have provided feel good stories in multiple ways. Despite tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship Game, Dickerson was allowed to take a snap near the end of the National Championship win for the Crimson Tide at center. He also recently gave fans a smile or a laugh while doing cartwheels at the Alabama Pro Day. Meanwhile, Meinerz was all the talk during the week of the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Not only did his play on the field turn heads, but his offseason workout videos and fashion statements got fans talking.
In today’s edition of This Or That, we will try and dive deeper into each of these players skillsets. Plus, what kind of role could either of these guys fill in Kansas City. For today’s hypothetical, the question is simple. Would you rather see the Chiefs draft Landon Dickerson in 2021 or Quinn Meinerz in 2021? Of these two options, you can go down to our poll at the bottom of this article to cast your vote.
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We have not yet completed our own scouting reports and draft prospect profiles for Dickerson and Meinerz at FPC Chiefs. Those will be coming out very soon though, so keep your eyes peeled. To best list each player’s current makeup, we will look into what some of the top NFL Draft evaluators have to say.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah recently put out a new update of his Top 50 player rankings for this year’s draft. He listed Dickerson at number 40 overall. Jeremiah wrote the following on him.
“Dickerson is an enormous interior offensive lineman. The Florida State transfer has experience at center and guard. He has very quick feet in pass protection. Dickerson keeps his hands tight and plays with a wide base. He does have some issues when redirecting, but he uses his upper-body strength to wrestle his way back into position. In the run game, he uncoils on defenders over his nose, creating movement at the point of attack. He has enough quickness to reach/cut off. I love his tenacity to finish. The only issue I see is his durability. He suffered an assortment of injuries at FSU and tore his ACL in the SEC Championship Game this past season. Dickerson has first round ability, but will likely fall to the second round based on injury concerns.”
Meinerz also made it into Jeremiah’s latest edition of the Top 50 player rankings. This is quite newsworthy, as Jeremiah has always been ahead of the curve, in terms of NFL trends or ideas when the draft rolls around. Many believe that Meinerz has what it takes to be selected by the end of Round Two. The NFL Network writer currently has him ranked as the number 44 player overall. Here is what Jeremiah had to say about the Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater product.
“Meinerz is a unique player evaluation. He didn’t play in 2020, as Wisconsin-Whitewater’s season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he spent the fall training and showed up looking like a different player at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. He saw snaps at guard and center at the annual all-star game. He has the prototype frame, length, power and athleticism for an interior lineman. When I studied his 2019 tape, I loved his nastiness and physicality but he had some balance issues in both the run and passing game. He cleaned that up during the week at the Senior Bowl.
Meinerz has a unique ability to leverage and roll his hips on contact to uproot and dump defenders over his nose in the run game. He can sink his hips and anchor down easily in pass protection. He has the athleticism to slide/mirror, using his length to keep defenders off his chest. Overall, Meinerz comes with some risk due to the jump in competition. But, he has all of the traits and the right temperament to develop into an elite starter at the next level.”
Fits With The Chiefs
In Kansas City, the best road to receiving starting reps for each of the players may lie at center. Yes, the team did just sign former Rams center/guard Austin Blythe. We certainly may see him make some starts at center in 2021. However, the one year deal trend the Chiefs have been on with most of their offensive line additions is more about creating competition, than locking down a spot. If you could land a Dickerson or a Meinerz for that spot, Kansas City could potentially be locking that spot down for the long haul.
The athleticism and strength combined that Jeremiah mentioned, is important from both players. The durability issues may hurt Dickerson more with his physical makeup, obviously. To see him doing cartwheels and working out so nimbly already though, is an extremely positive sign. His leadership has also been well regarded. On the flip side, Meinerz has the ability to play in space. Worried about your guys up front being able to match the intensity of a defensive opponent? Meinerz can certainly become a sturdy, nasty presence on the inside to help give your offense an edge and attitude up front.
Seeing Jeremiah’s Top 50 list and other various reports, it is very likely we do not see either of these two players last later than the second round. Personally, I would be fine with taking Dickerson in Round One at 31st overall. The injury concerns do not mesh well. Though, Kansas City is in position where they can take that risk with Dickerson and hope for it to pay off. Not all of the other franchises have that luxury at their disposal.
Maybe Meinerz does last into Round Three. Yet, it only takes once to leave a good impression. The week that Meinerz had overall at the Senior Bowl was among the best performances of the week. He may need more added time to develop against better competition, as Jeremiah mentioned. And Meinerz has the fortitude and mindset to get that done.
Go to the poll to cast your vote here: Draft Landon Dickerson or Quinn Meinerz?
I know we have hit hard on the injury history. But if the Chiefs could somehow add Dickerson to the offense, I would do that in a heartbeat. His command and control at center with the Crimson Tide set that offense up for big play after big play. We also hit on his athleticism a bit earlier. I do not believe Dickerson’s movement skills get as much praise as they should. The Chiefs offense really has not had that at center for a while. Meinerz would be an amazing consolation prize, but I have to go with Dickerson of the two options. Disagree with me? Let us know in the poll above.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs This Or That hypothetical articles throughout this 2021 offseason. We will post them on Tuesday and Thursday. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.