The Pittsburgh Steelers added some cornerback depth on Day 3 of the NFL Draft with the signing of former Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers cornerback Chandon Sullivan. Sullivan will likely feature in the slot for the Steelers, which is where he’s played most of his career, including in Minnesota where he was teammates with Patrick Peterson. In an OTA blog by Dale Lolley on Steelers.com, Peterson offered praise for his former teammate.
“Sully is a smart player, a tough player. He’s a guy that fits this Pittsburgh mentality,” Peterson said. “He’s a guy that is going to stick his face in the fan, mostly from the slot. He’s a highly competitive guy. Chandon is going into year (six), he’s been around the league. He’s been in some big-time games. He understands the ramification of games. We’re definitely happy to have a veteran presence with Chandon.”
Sullivan’s advanced metrics last season weren’t great, as he registered a lowly 55.8 PFF grade. Peterson told Lolley that a big reason for that was the amount of zone coverage that Minnesota played last season. With Pittsburgh being more of a man-heavy team, he thinks Sullivan should find some more success.
He’s a guy who’s shown he can produce at the NFL level, with three interceptions in 2021 with the Packers. He has five career interceptions and 23 career pass deflections. He’s shown he can tackle as well with 169 for his career, including 60 last season.
Slot corner is still Pittsburgh’s thinnest position, especially after the release of Arthur Maulet, and there’s some trepidation that Sullivan will struggle in 2023. But Peterson has seen him up close and played next to him, and he seems confident that he’ll be a nice addition to the Steelers’ defense.
There aren’t really any slot corner options behind Sullivan, so he’s going to have to produce. The Steelers could always slide Peterson to the slot and play Joey Porter Jr. and Levi Wallace outside, but I think the team’s preference is to keep Peterson on the outside as much as possible and not rely too heavily on him having an impact in the slot. Hopefully, as Peterson predicts, Pittsburgh’s scheme will help Sullivan out and he’ll be able to make some plays as the team’s primary slot corner.
Having a good slot corner is more important than ever in today’s NFL. Teams spread the field and the league becomes even more of a passing one with elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert in the AFC alone. While the Steelers will only face Burrow this year, if the team wants to win a Super Bowl, which is the standard in Pittsburgh, they need to have a plan in place to shut down the best passing offenses. If Sullivan can become a diamond in the rough and be a dude in the slot for the Steelers, the Pittsburgh secondary could wind up being a strength.