From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay.
#1 Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State (Senior) — 5113, 204 LBs
East-West Shrine Bowl participant
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Xazavian Valladay||5113, 204||8 1/2″||30 5/8″||76 2/8″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
-Really good footwork in traffic; able to change speed and direction with ease
-Workhorse running back with consistent production every season in college
-Sound vision overall and has a great feel for how to set up blockers
-Great feel in zone scheme with good patience and tempo
-Long strider with good speed to turn the corner and rip off long runs
-Lean frame and runs with a high pad level
-Wasn’t asked to do too much physically between the tackles and rarely stayed on the field in pass pro situations
-Has ability to hit home run, but long speed isn’t truly game-changing
-Limited as a pass catcher; ran very few routes of substance
-Contact balance a real concern; won’t break many tackles
-Enters the NFL with significant mileage on his body
-Transferred from Wyoming to Arizona State for 2022 season
-Recorded three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in college (two at Wyoming, one at ASU)
-Led the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns last season with 16
-In four seasons at Wyoming, he compiled 3,281 yards and 19 touchdowns on 626 carries and finished career as the second-leading rusher in program history; added 51 catches for 584 yards and two touchdowns
-In one season with Sun Devils, rushed for 1,192 yards and 16 touchdowns; added 37 receptions for 289 yards and two touchdowns
-Recorded 22 career 100-yard games in college (14 at Wyoming, eight with ASU)
-Saw action in 52 career games, finished college with 841 carries and 88 career receptions
Few running backs entering the 2023 NFL Draft can match the production and dependability that Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay has shown in the last four years — three at Wyoming and one at Arizona State.
In his career, Valladay rushed for 4,466 yards and 35 touchdowns on 841 carries, adding 88 receptions for 873 yards and four touchdowns in 52 games with the Cowboys and Sun Devils.
Despite all of that production, Valladay seems a bit scheme dependent as a fit in a zone rushing attack, in large part due to his strengths as a running back. He has good vision overall and really knows how to be patient and let his blocks set up.
He’s not the most explosive runner but has a real feel for finding green grass, showing the patience behind his blockers to let the play develop.
Valladay’s patience is fun to watch. He’s never in a hurry with the football in his hands. He trusts his ability to get upfield when the crease presents itself, and he has a really good feel for letting the blockers in front of him get to their targets, trusting a lane will emerge — much like it did against Northern Arizona in his first game as a Sun Devil.
He doesn’t have the best build for the position, is a bit lean and runs with a high pad level but the vision is top notch. He’s consistently hitting cutback lanes and is a true one-cut runner that plants and gets north in a hurry.
The vision really stands out with Valladay. He has a really good grasp on the scheme and where things could open, and he trusts his eyes immensely.
Consistently throughout his film from the 2022 season, Valladay was hitting the cutback often because of his vision and his ability to press the line with urgency and set up not only his blockers, but defenders as well.
Valladay has some elusiveness to his game, but he’s not going to be a runner that forces a number of missed tackles. He doesn’t have that type of power in his game, and his contact balance is a real concern as he can be chopped down rather easily on first contact.
He’s at his best in a zone scheme — inside or outside — where he can read the defense and set up his blockers, trusting his eyes and instincts.
He’s not much of a threat in the passing game. His route tree is very limited in that area of the game. He ran a bunch of swing routes, the occasional Texas route, and simple out routes out of the backfield at Arizona State. He did have some usage on wheel routes, too, including this touchdown against USC last season.
Decent hands overall and good speed to run away from defenders on certain routes, but he’s not going to get a ton of work in that area at the next level.
The production is really impressive from Valladay, as is the durability. He played in 52 career games in college and was a true workhorse for Wyoming and Arizona State. That said, that’s a concerning amount of mileage on his body entering the NFL. Add in the fact that he seems a bit scheme dependent in a zone rushing attack and Valladay profiles as mainly a change-of-pace running back.
He has good footwork and vision, and has the occasional home run, but the long speed isn’t anything to write home about at the position. He’s not going to break many tackles, either and really might just be a two-down running back due to his lack of usage in pass protection in college.
Valladay is certainly worth a look late on Day 3. He reminds me a bit of former Dallas and Buffalo running back Tashard Choice with his build, testing numbers and overall production in college.
Projection: Late Day 3 (Seventh Round)
Depot Draft Grade: 6.4 (End Of Roster/Practice Squad)
Games Watched: Northern Arizona (2022), Oklahoma State (2022), Utah (2022), USC (2022), Washington (2022), Stanford (2022), Colorado (2022), UCLA (2022), Oregon State (2022), Arizona (2022)