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Arizona State DT Renell Wren could add depth to Giants’ defensive line

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Is Arizona State’s Renell Wren an unpolished gem of a defensive tackle?

NCAA Football: Utah at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft is going to be defined by its front seven players. As it stands now, two of the top players in the entire draft are undersized defensive tackles who could play a variety of roles in a variety of defensive fronts.

But what if a team is unable to draft one of those players? This draft doesn’t just have elite talent at the position, it also has solid depth of players in that mold.

The New York Giants have a solid foundation in the middle of their defensive front with Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill, but they could always use more depth and perhaps another starter for their “base” fronts. And while they are in position to potentially draft one of the top players, but they might opt to go in another direction. If they do, a player like Arizona State’s Renell Wren could be an unpolished gem of a 1-gap defensive tackle.

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 295

Pros

  • Good height, length, and thickness for an interior defensive lineman.
  • Flashes an impressive first step.
  • Flashes dominant play strength.
  • Can control blockers and gaps in the run game.
  • Has upside in one-gap situations as a pass rusher.

Cons

  • Unpolished as a pass rusher.
  • Doesn’t seem to have a plan when rushing the passer.
  • Slow over any kind of distance.
  • Needs to get better consistently using his length.
  • Could be a projection for his best position at the next level.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Enticing prospect offering size, strength and athleticism to entice NFL general managers who covet elite traits over college production. Wren’s play was uneven while aligned on the nose in 2018, but he should benefit from a move to defensive tackle in an odd or even front as a pro. The cheat code in unlocking his ability and production might rest in a team’s ability to correct his hands and feet while improving recognition. With all things considered, “boom or bust” might be an appropriate tag for him.

- Lance Zierlein (NFL.com - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

Wren would fit the Giants as a defensive end in their 3-4 packages, or as a 1-gap tackle (such as 3-technique) in a 4-3 nickel package.

That being said, Wren would be a projection at the next level.

Wren primarily played nose tackle for Arizona State, primarily out of a four-point stance. His job in that defensive front was to push the center and occupy a double-team. And while that took advantage of his strength, it didn’t take advantage of his length and explosive first step. Also, because of how he was used, his skills as a pass rusher are under-developed. Wren doesn’t appear to rush with much of a plan beyond over-powering whoever is in front of him. He could do that on occasion when he gets leverage and a good jump off the snap, but it wasn’t a strategy that produced consistent results. Likewise, his hands are blunt instruments, rather than tools for beating and working past offensive linemen.

But all that being said, his upside in a one-gap sistem is obvious in flashes. When he gets a good jump off the snap, with good leverage and pad level, he can be unblockable. Once he learns how to use his hands and length to their potential, he could be a terror as a 5-technique or 3-technique defensive tackle.