Rookie safety Killebrew still in learning stage

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Miles Killebrew is one of several mid- to late-round draft picks who is scrapping to lock down a roster spot.

Allen Park — For Lions rookie safety Miles Killebrew, Friday felt like the first day of school in a sense.

After reporting on Sunday with the rest of the rookies, Killebrew finally got to cut his teeth with the veterans as the Lions held their first training camp practice, which was moved indoors due to inclement weather.

“We’re excited. The possibilities are endless and we know that we’re going to get out of this season what we put into it now,” said Killebrew, a fourth-round pick out of Southern Utah.

“Everybody is flying around and Coach (Jim Caldwell) talked about being bold and being courageous. We’re all just trying to be courageous out there and do what we need to do to be excellent this year.”

Killebrew is one of several mid- to late-round draft picks who is scrapping to lock down a roster spot, along with center Graham Glasgow, a third-round selection from Michigan; linebacker Antwione Williams, a fifth-round pick out of Georgia Southern; and quarterback Jake Rudock, a sixth-round pick from Michigan.

Killebrew is also in a position to potentially earn significant playing time with the starting role opposite safety Glover Quin up for grabs. But the hard hitter isn’t focused on where he stands on the depth chart just yet.

“I’m just looking at playing my best game and learning the system as fast as I can and being as fluid as I can so that I can be the best player out there that I can be,” Killebrew said.

“I just want to continue to do what I’ve been doing and just keep learning the playbook and getting it down so that it is not only second nature, but just fluid and I’m not even thinking about it.”

Similarly, Glasgow is pushing to unseat incumbent Travis Swanson for the starting role, but understands he has a lot to learn and strides to make at such a demanding position.

“It’s all about the process really,” Glasgow said. “That’s something (offensive line) Coach (Ron) Prince and a lot of the other veterans and coaches have been telling me about and really just about getting better every day.”

It helps that there are numerous veterans at Killebrew’s and Glasgow’s positions. Killebrew said he regularly picks Quin’s and Don Carey’s brains, while Glasgow garners advice and pointers from Gabe Ikard and Swanson.

It also helps that Glasgow and Killebrew are bunking with fellow rookies who are going through the same grind. Glasgow rooms with former college teammate Rudock, while Killebrew shares a space with Williams.

“I think that the mental aspect of it is starting to get a little bit better,” Glasgow said. “I’m getting a lot of help from the vets. They’re doing a great job and I’m happy that they’re helping me.

“(Rudock and I) talk about plays, installs. We go over some stuff but he’s a very bright guy and we bounce stuff off each other.”

For Glasgow, Killebrew and the rest of the rookies, Friday was just a mere taste of what’s to come.

“I’m just trying to learn, man. Play fast and learn and I’d say today was a good day, good start,” Killebrew said. “I got little things in my game I need to work on and I’m looking forward to getting that done.”