BOSTON (CBS) — With David Andrews set to hit free agency, the New England Patriots are doing their pre-draft homework on centers. That includes taking a good look at one of the best prospects in Division-III football, center Quinn Meinerz.

It’s hard to imagine Andrews snapping the football anywhere but New England, but the Patriots are making sure they’re ready just in case. And it couldn’t hurt to have a backup behind Andrews, something the team doesn’t currently have on the roster.

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So on Tuesday, New England scouts and offensive line coaches were part of the contingency at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Pro Day, via college football blogger Owen Riese. The Pats were on hand to watch Meinerz, who was the only Warhawks prospect at Tuesday’s showcase.

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There’s a reason so many eyeballs were on hand to see what Meinerz has to offer. He was a starter for all three of his collegiate seasons, and would have had a fourth season under his belt had the 2020 D-III schedule not been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His resume earned the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Meinerz an invite to this year’s Senior Bowl, where he turned heads against Division I talent.

Meinerz would be a raw prospect along the line, but he’s the kind of player that the Patriots have developed well over the last two decades. He is currently projected to be drafted sometime on Day 2, with some pundits slotting him into the second round.

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New England currently owns one second-round selection at 47th overall, and received the No. 96 overall selection in the third round on Wednesday as a comp pick for Tom Brady’s free agency departure.

CBSBoston.com Staff