The Pittsburgh Steelers have elevated defensive tackle Renell Wren from their practice squad for their Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Saturday.
Wren, 27, will be making his Steelers debut. The fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019, Wren played 12 games and made two starts with the Bengals from 2019-21, recording nine tackles, most of which came in his rookie season.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound defensive tackle missed the 2020 season with a quadriceps injury and spent he 2021 season on the Cincinnati practice squad. Wren was with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason before being waived on Aug. 30. The Steelers signed him to their practice squad on Sept. 2.
The Steelers are dealing with a lack of depth at defensive tackle, as top Chris Wormley was lost for the season to an ACL injury in the first matchup against the Ravens in Week 14. Starter Larry Ogunjobi has been dealing with a toe injury, and was initially listed as questionable to face the Ravens this Sunday. Ogunjobi had his injury status removed on Saturday, and is now expected to play, but could be limited in the number of reps he’s able to take.
Behind Ogunjobi and Cam Heyward, the Steelers also have nose tackles Montravius Adams and Tyson Alualu and backup ends Isaiahh Loudermilk and DeMarvin Leal.
Against the Ravens in Week 14, the Steelers played extensive amounts of base 3-4 defense, and in recent weeks have added Leal as a standup edge rusher to make a 3-5 package to combat heavy personnel from opposing offenses.
It’s interesting that the Steelers chose to go with Wren to elevate from the practice squad. When they were short on bodies earlier in the season, they elevated defensive tackle Carlos Davis, and Davis got his first career sack against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8.
In his 195 career snaps, Pro Football Focus grades Wren as a sure tackler, but not a particularly strong run defender or pass rusher.