Renell Wren – Defensive Tackle
School: Arizona State
Class: Red-shirt senior
Weight: 315 pounds
Renell Wren NFL Draft Profile
Top 3 Player Traits
Wren has an unbelievable first step which allows him, at least at times, to be the very first player to move at the snap of the ball. He occasionally even seems to beat the center in initial movement. When he’s able to combine that fast first step with good pad level, he’s an immovable force, which is a major selling point in today’s NFL, even in a draft like this one, which is heavy with quality defensive linemen. You can see big 95 drive the offensive lineman back thanks to his quick first step.
Natural Football Strength
The ASU product has one of the few things that absolutely can’t be coached-brute strength. He is able to disrupt things in the backfield with an impressive bull rush. When he’s successful at keeping offensive linemen at arm’s length, he can completely wreck a backfield. Centers can have an impossible job dealing with him when he is able to use that strength with the aforementioned low pad level.
Overall Athletic Ability
Wren has that “Dancing Bear” physical playing style, usually a term used by personnel-types to describe huge offensive linemen who are quick and agile. In this case, the former Sun Devil has tremendous foot speed at the snap as well as the ability to chase plays. The latter needs to be honed at the NFL level to keep him from playing too high and to make sure he keeps his eyes on the football, even when he doesn’t win the initial battle on the snap from center. With work on his pad level and keeping that focus, especially with his natural talents, Wren could be a steal for someone.
3 Player Traits In Need Of Improvement
Poor Pad Level
Too often, he seems to stand up at the snap as opposed to playing the “Low Man Wins” game of good pad level. When he doesn’t stay low in his initial burst off the ball, he becomes a mediocre defensive lineman, easily blocked and completely washed out of the play. Additionally, when this does happen, he seems to lose interest in what is happening and totally loses track of the play.
Shooting The Gap Recklessly
While his outstanding athletic ability, incredible strength, and size enable him to wreak havoc at times in the middle of the line, Wren tends to rely almost exclusively on those God-given talents to get the job done. When he’s not disciplined initially on a given play, he seems to simply throw his body into the center-guard gap, which too often leads to a double team that handles him easily.
Play Matching His Athletic Ability/Discipline
Is Wren an ultra-athletic, amazingly strong freak of nature who will follow up a pretty good senior season and Senior Bowl week with a potentially dominating NFL career? That depends on whether he can overcome what appears might be a classic case of “Looks like Tarzan/Plays like Jane” syndrome. His game film shows way too many examples of him making a fantastic play one moment followed by 4 or 5 plays where he simply stands straight up and gets blocked so far out of the play that he’s not even on the screen when the play concludes.
He simply has to play more under control. He’s more of an athletic talent than defensive lineman at this point. He screams boom or bust.
NFL Team Fits
Matt Patricia still has a ways to go with Detroit fans, especially given the reputation he brought to the Motor City as a defensive whiz. Taking a flyer on Wren could pay off for a team with almost no pocket pushers along the defensive front.
Los Angeles Rams
With Ndamukong Suh probably on the way out via free agency, the Rams could use an infusion of youth on D.
NFL Player Comparison
In his prime, Woods was a good but not necessarily great interior defensive lineman who was effective against both the run and pass, much like Wren.
Wren has some work to do to become a legitimate pro player, much less a starter/difference-maker in the league, but with good coaching and attention to detail in his assignments, he could be a stud who makes a team look great with his selection. Without improving in certain areas, however, he could make a team look really foolish.