As a small school prospect, Southern Utah’s Miles Killebrew is trying to make a name for himself in the national spotlight and prove he belongs with his North squad teammates from more established football programs. The 6-foot-1, 219 pound safety did just that in his first two days of practice at the Senior Bowl with his big time play.
Scouts and coaches in attendance at Wednesday afternoon’s practice in Ladd-Peebles Stadium especially got to witness Killebrew’s physicality when the pads came on for the first time. The Thunderbird product not only displayed his abilities as a thumper in the box when stoning ball carriers but also his coverage skills after dropping 10 pounds this offseason. That caught the attention of one coach in particular when working on a backpedaling coverage drill.
“That’s depth, all day we’ll give them that,” the secondary coach shouted at Killebrew after displaying his range on the play.
Killebrew later translated that same speed and coverage ability in one-on-ones when matched up against the opposing North tight ends. The SUU star blanketed Iowa tight end Henry Krieger Coble on a post pattern and went step for step with the him to break up the play. No matter where the Thunderbird safety lined up on Wednesday, whether in the box or 20 yards deep from the line of scrimmage, he excelled and that versatility is something he wanted to show to coaches in particular.
After putting out excellent tape at Southern Utah and doing the same against this talent level now along with stellar reported team interviews, Killebrew is rapidly moving up draft boards and has the potential to have his name called as soon as the first round. He also has the opportunity to solidify his stock even more in February at the combine where he is expected to run a 4.50 40-yard dash.
If the Buccaneers still feel they have a need at safety come April, Killebrew might be someone the team has in mind if he makes it to their pick in round two. In that scenario, Tampa Bay will perhaps find their next Ali Marpet and get a very high character individual with an even higher ceiling and impressive intangibles, which were on display first hand when PewterReport.com interviewed him. You can find the transcript from his Q&A below.
PewterReport.com’s 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl coverage is sponsored by Gerber Collision & Glass.
(On his first day of practice)
“It went well. It was exciting, it was fun, there was a lot of energy and I feel I accomplished the goals I had coming into this. The Cowboys coaching staff is very good at pushing the tempo of practice and that’s something that was definitely fun to adapt to. [The tempo] was something that I enjoyed, just kind of pushing myself to see how far I could go and how fast I could run between drills.”
(On his toughest matchup at Southern Utah)
“I played against some great guys. I played against some very talented football players. If not indirectly, I played against [Chargers receiver] Keenan Allen from Cal early on in my career and he stands out as one of the better receivers I played against, especially coming from Southern Utah. He’s had tremendous success at the next level and so he stands out. I played against a lot of great guys but can’t think of anyone on the top of my head that’s gotten the better of me.”
(On his style of play)
“My game is changing, I have to tell you. I played a lot in the box when I was at Southern Utah. I weighed about 230 pounds and I never ventured within a pound. It was pretty consistent throughout that whole season. But my goal coming in, as I told you I accomplished all of my goals, was to lose about 10-12 pounds and that’s what I accomplished. I wanted to get under 220 pounds and the only reason I wanted to do that was to be more fluid as a safety. I don’t want to come into this camp and have any coaches cross out any positions on their list of things I can play because of my physical body prevents it. As far as my game play, I want to be known as a safety, as a linebacker, as whatever they need me to be that can get the job done. That’s how I would define my game.”
(On who he patterns his game after)
“You mention [Deone] Bucannon, he’s definitely someone that’s very similar. Back when I was 230 pounds, one of the guys I looked up to in order to get that big was Kam Chancellor. Earlier on in my career I looked up to Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu, who used to be everywhere. I’ve been talking to Chris Hope who’s actually been in the league for a long time and is working closely with the Titans. I look at those guys and I pick up what I can but at the end of the day I want to add my own flavor to it. I want to learn from them but I want to be the first Miles Killebrew.”
Hope he falls to us in the second round or we trade up to get him. Conte is OK but he is a lot older. We need a great cover Safety. My only reservation is he hasn’t proved he is a great playmaker who intercepts the ball often. We need that quality too in order to flip the field.
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