Position: Interior defensive lineman
Weight: 318 pounds
School: Arizona State Sun Devils
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 5.01 seconds
Bench press: 30 reps
Vertical jump: 32.0 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.65 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.53 seconds
Renell Wren 2019 NFL Draft Profile
It’s not often that a kid from the St. Louis area ends up in Tempe and plays collegiately for Arizona State. But that’s where Renell Wren found himself after high school. Wren enjoyed a standout career at Lutheran North and received rave reviews from recruiting services. Scout.com rated him as the top defensive lineman out of the state of Missouri among 2014 college prospects. His only Pac-12 scholarship offer was from the Sun Devils and that’s where he invariably decided to continue playing football.
Wren played weakside defensive end in high school but the Arizona State coaching staff envisioned a move inside for him. Perhaps that’s why he found playing time hard to come by early on. He sat out the 2014 season, most likely to familiarize himself with a more interior role, then made just four appearances as a reserve during his redshirt freshman campaign. 2016 started off with a bang for him as he totaled a team-leading two tackle for loss in the season-opener against Northern Arizona. But he still started just one game that year.
As a junior, Wren’s role slowly but surely grew as he made three starts and saw action in all 13 contests. Perhaps his most noteworthy achievement of the season was tallying the first interception of his career in a win over Oregon State. His final season with the Sun Devils was clearly his best. He finally became a prominent contributor on the defensive front, starting all 13 games. His 43 tackles were a career high and he also added 4.5 stops for loss, one sack, and two pass breakups. At the team’s awards banquet after the season, he won the Tim Landers Iron Man Award.
- looks the part of an NFL-caliber interior defender from a frame standpoint;
- impressive upper body strength;
- naturally powerful and able to consistently push the pocket;
- attacks with immediate burst off the snap;
- constantly works with his hands with ideal punch and placement;
- doesn’t need to get hands on the quarterback to be effective in pass defense;
- a versatile prospect who offers value as both a one and two-gap penetrator;
- sacrifices leverage by playing too upright;
- too keen to fight blockers rather than disengage and attack ball-carrier;
- subpar read and react instincts;
- a somewhat segmented mover in space;
- lacks a cohesive plan when rushing the passer;
- needs to play with more focus and control;
- just a single season of consistent reps as a starter in college.
NFL Comparison: Linval Joseph
Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles
Projection: Third to fourth round
Wren showcased his potential during his final collegiate season. He certainly has the physical traits that NFL teams covet in their interior defenders. He projects a great deal of power which enables him to control the point of attack in the trenches. And he seems to have the versatility to be able to make an impact in both even and odd fronts. If he can learn to play in a more leveraged position, he has all the makings of a mauler who can dominate opposing linemen with speed to power conversion.
But as it stands, Wren struggles to play in such a manner. He jumps into plays in too upright a position which won’t cut it against elite interior offensive line talent. His numbers didn’t exactly impress in college and a lot of the interest he’s generating is primarily based on his traits rather than production. And in order for him to reach his ceiling at the next level, his overall instincts in adjusting on the run are in need of significant development.
NFL teams will certainly look at Wren as moldable clay capable of earning starter level reps in due time. His most ideal fit at the next level might be that of a three-technique in a 4-3 alignment where he can develop into a reliable one-gap interior lineman. It’s possible that he’s off the board late on day two of the draft. But at the very least, he gets drafted on day three and heads into a training camp able to compete for a reserve role right off the bat.