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Steelers sign former Arizona State RB, waive RB John Lovett

The Steelers shuffle the bottom of their RB depth chart with the signing of Xazavian Valladay.

Arizona State Sun Devils running back Xazavian Valladay (1) against the Arizona Wildcats during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ flurry of roster moves has spilled over into Tuesday. NFL reporter Mike Garafolo reported that Pittsburgh has signed RB Xazavian Valladay.

In a corresponding roster move, the Steelers announced that they waived RB John Lovett, who has struggled to see the field in training camp due to injury.

Valladay rushed for over a thousand yards three times in his collegiate career, during which he spent four years with Wyoming and his final season with Arizona State. As a Sun Devil in 2022, Valladay rushed for 1,192 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He also contributed in the passing game with 37 receptions, 289 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. He was named to the All-Pac-12 second team following his performance in 2022.

Despite his college production, Valladay was not a highly-ranked draft prospect, with NFL analyst Lance Zierlein giving the RB a priority free agent grade in his draft profile. “Valladay runs a little bigger than his measured size, thanks to his decisive mindset and his acceleration into contact,” wrote Zierlein, adding that Valladay is “competitive and productive, but he fails to stand out in any single area.”

The 5’11, 199-pound running back signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2023. He saw some preseason action against the New England Patriots on August 10, rushing for 8 yards on four carries. Valladay was released by the Texans on August 13.

Valladay will join the likes of Greg Bell and Darius Hagans in the Steelers RB room as they challenge Anthony McFarland Jr. for the team’s RB3 roster spot. If healthy, Valladay will likely see some preseason playing time this Saturday when the Steelers host the Buffalo Bills.