Killebrew worked exclusively as a linebacker in individual drills this week, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Killebrew has worked as the No. 5 safety in offseason workouts and doesn't have a clear defensive role in advance of the 2018 season. There's been no word on whether his position change is permanent, but the Lions nonetheless seem intent on finding ways to get the third-year player on the field this season. At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, Killebrew possesses favorable size for a dime- and nickel-package linebacker, and creative head coach Matt Patricia could experiment with a number of different alignments to take advantage of Killebrew's notorious physicality.
Killebrew recorded 38 tackles, five PBUs, one interception, one forced fumble and one touchdown across 16 games in 2017.
Killebrew, a 2016 fourth-rounder, was expected to take on an expanded role during his second season, particularly after starter Tavon Wilson (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve in late November. He started the new campaign off in style, too, as the Southern Utah product notched his first career pick-six in the season opener. However, his playing time dwindled as the year went on and Detroit ultimately chose to convert cornerback Quandre Diggs to safety to fill Wilson's void instead of Killebrew. The once-promising IDP prospect has lost quite a bit of his luster and will proceed into the 2018 offseason as Diggs' clear backup.
Killebrew is expected to take on extended snaps at safety for the rest of the season with Tavon Wilson (shoulder) headed for injured reserve, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports.
Killebrew started in Week 3 against the Falcons after Wilson aggravated his shoulder for a second time this season, with the 24-year-old taking advantage of the opportunity by producing a career-high nine tackles across 53 snaps. He settled into a backup role thereafter, but with the Lions opting to shut down Wilson following his third aggravation of the shoulder in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Vikings, Killebrew will presumably move into a starting role alongside free safety Glover Quin. Based on the tackle production he provided in Wilson's stead earlier this season, Killebrew could be an intriguing option in IDP settings over the final quarter of the campaign.
|14||12/9/18||@ ARI||4:25 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|