With the Pittsburgh Steelers significantly short-handed at inside linebacker, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking on the open market.
According to NFL Insider Aaron Wilson, veteran linebacker Tanner Vallejo is visiting the Steelers Thursday.
Vallejo, 28, is a former sixth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Boise State by the Buffalo Bills. He’s spent time with the Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Washington, and the Minnesota Vikings.
Vallejo checks in at 6011, 228 pounds and ran a 4.67 40-yard dash coming out of college. He added a 7.08 3-cone, a 33.5-inch vertical jump and a 10’1″ broad jump.
In his career, Vallejo has recorded 114 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery playing in 82 games with eight starts.
Prior to visiting the Steelers Thursday, Vallejo spent some time with the Vikings in training camp, signing with Minnesota on August 14 before being released on August 28. From 2020-22 Vallejo was with the Cardinals and started seven games over three seasons, including five starts last season.
Last season with the Cardinals, Vallejo graded out at a 41.1 overall from Pro Football Focus, playing 282 snaps defensively. He graded out at 42.8 against the run and 47.9 in coverage, allowing 10 receptions on 15 targets for 96 yards, breaking up one pass.
According to PFF, Vallejo has played 687 total snaps defensively. Special teams is where Vallejo made his mark in the NFL though. In his career dating back to 2017, Vallejo has played 1,525 snap, recording 32 tackles and just four penalties. Last season in Arizona, Vallejo graded out at a 79.7 on special teams from PFF.
The visit from Vallejo comes with the Steelers short-handed at the position after losing Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander in back-to-back weeks for the season. Now, the Steelers will be leaning on veteran Elandon Roberts and second-year linebacker Mark Robinson at the position, as well as practice squad guys Mykal Walker and Tariq Carpenter. The visit from Vallejo also comes just two days after head coach Mike Tomlin stated that the franchise wasn’t looking outside the organization for injury replacements.
Though Vallejo can’t be viewed as a replacement for Holcomb or Alexander, should the Steelers turn that visit into a signing, it would help shore up some depth, presumably on the practice squad since he hasn’t been in a football setting since late August.
We’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours or so with Vallejo and his visit to Pittsburgh.