ESPN: Lions’ Killebrew a ‘breakout prospect’ for 2017

The Detroit News

Lions second-year safety Miles Killebrew said in May he expects to have a breakout season. He’s not the only one.

The hard-hitting Killebrew checks in at No. 19 on the Football Outsiders’ list of top 25 “breakout prospects” for 2017, which was revealed at ESPN.com.

The list includes players “that have a strong chance to make an impact in the NFL despite their lack of draft stock and the fact that they weren’t immediate NFL starters,” according to Rivers McCown.

That describes Killebrew, who recorded 28 tackles and an interception in 16 games last season after he was drafted in the fourth round, and wowed teammates and Lions’ brass alike.

“A rangy, hard-hitting safety in the Deone Bucannon ‘safety who is really a linebacker’ mold,” McCown writes, “Killebrew projects to see plenty of time in Detroit’s secondary going forward. Glover Quin is getting closer to 30, and under Teryl Austin, the Lions have been open to dime defenses, going with them 18 percent of the time in 2016.

“Killebrew’s 40-yard dash at the combine was brutal, with a 4.65-second time that put him in the bottom 20 percent of all safeties since 1999. However, his jumps were explosive and once he got up to top speed he managed pretty well at Southern Utah. It’s all projection this deep on the list, but Killebrew has the tools to be an NFL moneybacker.”

Lions running back Dwayne Washington was an honorable-mention selection.