The Pittsburgh Steelers made their first outside free agency move on Saturday and agreed to terms with veteran linebacker/safety Miles Killebrew.
Killebrew, a 2016 third-round pick by the Detroit Lions, came to the Motor City by way of Southern Utah University, where he was a four-year starter at safety. Killebrew reached the triple-digit mark in tackles each of his last two seasons. He also displayed an aptitude for pass coverage with three interceptions, one returned for a score. He also contributed seven pass breakups.
Killebrew’s player bio in the NFL draft prospects tracker stated the following coming out of Southern Utah:
Violent player who looks to punish and intimidate with the force of his strikes, but who won’t compromise his form as a tackler just for the highlight reel hit. Killebrew is average in coverage, but has the size and physicality that makes him stand out in the box.
According to Michael Rothstein of ESPN, Killebrew was drafted as a possible long-term solution at safety. Like Steelers’ Marcus Allen, Killebrew converted from safety to linebacker and bounced between the two positions. He struggled to find a role on defense but was a special teams standout. Killebrew played in 1,630 special teams snaps and just 590 defensive snaps.
At 6’2 and 222 pounds, Killebrew left the Lions with 78 appearances (four starts), two interceptions (one for a touchdown versus Cardinals’ Carson Palmer in 2017), six passes defended, 105 tackles (88 solo), two quarterback hits and a blocked punt. Killebrew only played one defensive snap in 2020 versus 361 snaps on special teams.
Killebrew will purely be a special teams guy in Pittsburgh but projects to continue his path as a defensive utility player. Interestingly enough, Teryl Austin, Pittsburgh’s assistant defensive and secondary coach, was defensive coordinator for Killebrew’s first two seasons in Detroit.
Pittsburgh has yet to disclose details of Killebrew’s contract. Per OverTheCap.com, he earned $2 million in his final season with the Lions — $1,862,500 in salary and a $137,500 signing bonus.