Steelers News

Chandon Sullivan Receives First-Team Reps, Gets Early Look At Nickel For Steelers In OTAs

Veteran cornerback Chandon Sullivan appears to have hit the ground running with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Signed on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft as a free agent, Sullivan told reporters Tuesday following the first day of Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side that he received some first-team reps defensively and got a lot of work in the nickel as a slot cornerback, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Brian Batko and the Tribune-Review‘s Chris Adamski.

“It’s the second time being in free agency, so it was a smooth transition [to Pittsburgh],” Sullivan said, according to video via Adamski on Twitter. “I had teams talk to me and tell me what their expectations were, but at the end of the day this is my fit. They [Steelers] asked me to come in and compete, and I’m happy to be here.”

It’s not much of a surprise that Sullivan is getting reps in the slot with the first-team defense, or that he got a lot of work in nickel on the first day of OTAs. Steelers GM Omar Khan named him as one of the key guys that the Steelers are counting on in the slot after the release of Arthur Maulet a few weeks ago.

While the slot position defensively still seems a bit murky overall, Sullivan’s initial usage Tuesday might be providing some clarity to the position. Pittsburgh signed the veteran defensive back as a slot option primarily. A veteran corner with plenty of slot experience, he’s started 31 career games, including 10 last season for the Minnesota Vikings.

In Minnesota in 2022, he recorded 60 tackles and broke up seven passes though the analytics weren’t kind, grading him out as one of the NFL’s worst slot corners.

Sullivan, just 26 years old, also has experience with the Eagles and Packers. His best statistical season came in 2021 when he had three interceptions for the Packers. In five NFL seasons, he has 23 passes defended and five interceptions.

An undrafted free agent out of Georgia State, Sullivan played five games for the Eagles in 2018. He spent the following three seasons with the Packers, and 2022 was his only season in Minnesota. While he was a special-teams contributor early in his career, he hasn’t played much there in recent seasons.

Despite having a guy with the experience of Sullivan on the roster as an option in the slot, the position remains one of the biggest question marks for the Steelers entering the 2023 season.

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