UNITY TWP., Pa. — The Steelers have a new running back in town, and it is a guy who you probably do not know. Xazavian Valladay is a guy who came into the Steelers’ locker room after being cut from the Texans due to a bevy of injuries at other positions. But the production from his college days at Wyoming and Arizona State stands out in a big way.
The newest running back to the team, Valladay, looked good in practice, too. Mason Rudolph lofted a ball that was out of his reach, and Valladay laid out a full extension to make a pretty grab. It was a pretty great play from a running back. His quickness and burst are evident. In the team run drills, Valladay ran hard and physically. I think he certainly has a chance to push through the noise and other guys that are in front of him to nab a practice squad spot.
More importantly, he has some real juice, both laterally and in short area bursts. His long speed stands out as a major plus. There is something about Valladay in that regard that stands out. Given his only one day in pads, his pass protection has been hard to gauge, but he is a tough runner who finishes hard and falls forward.
6-foot, 200-pound Chicago native, Valladay signed with the Texans this spring after going undrafted out of Arizona State. In his one season with the Sun Devils, Valladay played in 10 games, rushing 215 times for 1,192 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns. He led the team with 1,481 all-purpose yards.
Before his one season at ASU, Valladay was one of the best running backs in Wyoming history. He played four seasons with the Cowboys, racking up 3,281 yards and 19 touchdowns, leaving Laramie as the second-leading rusher in program history.
In the pre-draft process, Valladay showed elite speed, running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, and also posted a 40-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-3 broad jump. His overall Relative Athletic Score came in at a 9.46 out of 10.