The Bengals started out the final day of the draft by trading up and addressing the backup quarterback position with Ryan Finley. 21 picks later, they used their second fourth-round pick to take defensive tackle Renell Wren out of Arizona state.
Wren is a raw prospect who will be added to a defensive line looking for more depth as well as future players.
What Wren brings to the Bengals
Athletic profile: Wren is what you’d imagine when you think of a project player. He has great strength and speed for his size at 6’4” and 295 pounds. He also has the length that the Bengals simply don’t have in the middle. You can see what I’m talking about when you watch just how quickly he can get off the ball.
Renell Wren (@Renell_Wren) wins this rep with quality burst off the line. His first step covers a lot of ground, illustrates powerful pop through the hands and stacks/shed the OC to get in the backfield for the TFL with company. pic.twitter.com/K1OjYCpZv6— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) September 16, 2018
Ability to plug the middle: The Bengals run defense was just plain bad last year, and it was clear at times they didn’t have enough big guys to properly rotate and defend the run. Wren can step into that rotation from the start. Here is another example of him destroying a play.
Renell Wren putting MSU center on his a** pic.twitter.com/cKyaSqPEgI— Jon Rivera (@JonRiveraNFLCFB) January 15, 2019
Traits that project well as a pass rusher: When we say Wren is raw, he doesn’t really have pass rush moves. It seems like at times he coasted off of his physical ability in college. He will now be in a room with guys who will sit him down and make sure he understands how to properly attack the quarterback in the NFL.
Why the Bengals selected Wren
Depth: Last year the Bengals had to rely on guys like Sam Hubbard, Michael Johnson and Jordan Willis to kick inside far too often. You shouldn’t expect that to stop in obvious passing situations, but Wren can be another guy in the rotation to help keep guys like Geno Atkins fresh during a game.
High Ceiling: Wren was never very productive at Arizona State. His NFL career could be where he plays his best football. He just needs to learn more about how offensive lines will be trying to block him, and he needs to develop some technique in pass rushing. If he can do that, he has all the God given ability in the world to potentially be a starter some day.
Versatility: You can expect to see Wren at nose tackle and 3-technique during his career with the Bengals. He has the physical tools to really be successful in both roles once he develops his game a little bit more. The Bengals absolutely love guys who can do multiple things. When you have a guy who is that quick at getting off the ball who knows how to use his power, you just have to get him on the field however you can.
The future: It is no secret that Atkins isn’t getting any younger. He will be 32-years-old after the 2019 season is over. They need to start planning for who could take his place, and Wren is a guy who could possibly do that if he is able to take in what the Bengals and Atkins are going to teach him. Imagine this guy learning what he is doing on the field.