Lions’ hammerin’ Killebrew likely to stick with safety

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Miles Killebrew

Phoenix – With the Detroit Lions’ dearth of linebacking depth, there has been some speculation the team might look to convert second-year safety Miles Killebrew.

It’s not an outlandish idea. Dubbed a “muscle hammer” by analyst Lance Zierlein before last year’s draft, the chiseled 6-foot-2 defensive back spent most of his time operating inside the box as a third-down specialist and his frame appears capable of handling some additional bulk.

But asked how he viewed Killebrew going forward, general manager Bob Quinn didn’t anticipate a position switch for the rapidly developing player.

“He’s a safety, first and foremost,” Quinn said. “I mean, you can call him what you want to call him. You can call him a dime linebacker, you can call him – there are different terms. You know, he can play down near the box because of his size, but he’s a safety.”

Killebrew currently projects as a backup, behind starters Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson. But if last season is any indication, the Lions will find ways to get Killebrew on the field.

At the Super Bowl last month, Quin projected Killebrew was primed for a breakout season in 2017 based on the way the rookie handled the variety of assignments the coaching staff put on his plate.

“If you can throw all that on a person and they can handle it and make plays, once they have time to digest it in the offseason, when he comes back next year, he’s going to be so much further ahead,” Quin said. “And he’s going to have so much experience. I think that’s the thing that helped me the most (as a young player) is I played corner, I played nickel, I played safety, I played dime, I played it all.”

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