Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: DL Renell Wren
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: Originally signed to the practice squad at the start of the season, Wren is hoping to make the jump back to a 53-man roster contributor in his first full offseason with the team.
A former fourth-round draft pick out of Arizona St. in 2019 by the Cincinnati Bengals, Renell Wren has not played a great deal over the course of his NFL career. He saw 155 defensive snaps during his rookie season, accounting for eight of his nine career tackles, but has had little opportunity since then.
It doesn’t help that he suffered a significant quad tear during training camp of his second season. That landed him on the Reserve/Injured List and really threw off his trajectory. He had already ended his rookie season prematurely due to a leg injury suffered in December.
Things haven’t gone as well for him since then. He found himself demoted to the practice squad in what would have been the final year of his rookie contract in 2021, active for only one game. In February of last year, he initially signed with the Philadelphia Eagles but did not make the team.
Released on August 30, the Steelers announced his signing to the practice squad days later, and he has been with Pittsburgh since then. He did get elevated for one game, logging a total of one snap, in the Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Given his talents, and the potential changes that we might see along the defensive line, is it so unrealistic that he could crack his way back onto the 53-man roster, perhaps now in a better place physically than he has been for a while?
Obviously, the Steelers are not going to count on the 27-year-old finally reaching his potential and becoming a regular contributor, but stranger things have happened. They helped revitalize the careers of Tyson Alualu and Montravius Adams in recent years.
Still, many players like him have come and gone throughout the years without leaving much of an impact. The odds favor that being the case with him, but as always, he’ll have the chance to write his own story as we move forward.