After primarily being used on special teams last season, the Detroit Lions’ could get a big boost this upcoming season from this second-year defender.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, 111th overall, Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew was chosen by the Detroit Lions. The four-year starter who recorded a whopping 233 tackles in his final two seasons in college figured to add a physical presence to the Lions’ secondary.
Last season, Killebrew posted the second most snaps on special teams with 304. Despite playing just below 15% of the team’s total defensive snaps, the rookie showed flashes with some big hits and critical third down stops. Killebrew recorded 28 tackles and one interception in 16 games in 2016.
A versatile player, the 6-foot-2, 222 pound Killebrew also logged some time at linebacker last year. But this upcoming season, the Lions’ coaching staff want to better focus the 24-year old to get the most out of his abilities.
"“[Killebrew] has a lot of places he can play. I see him as a strong safety for us who can play in the DIME, who can play in the back because when you watch him, he has really good athletic ability and he can run and he has really good ball skills,’’ Lions’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told the Oakland Press. “…now that he’s in his second year of the scheme, he feels a little bit more comfortable with what he’s doing. So, he’s playing a little faster, reacting a little faster and I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do this preseason.”"
With the exodus of safety Rafael Bush via free agency this offseason, Killebrew figures to have an expanded role in his sophomore year. With veteran Glover Quin a lock to start at free safety, the competition is squarely at strong safety. Both Killebrew and last year’s starter Tavon Wilson figure to be the front-runners for the spot, with veteran Don Carey and second-year safety Alex Carter also in the mix.
A true box safety and downhill thumper, Miles Killebrew has a real opportunity to win a starting role on the Detroit Lions’ defense in 2017. But even if he doesn’t get the nod this season, you have to believe it’s only a matter of time before this defensive force smashes his way in to the starting lineup in Detroit.