Detroit Lions Positional Analysis – Safety

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In this 11 part series Adam Ostermeier and I are going to be profiling each position group on the Lions roster, with two groups a week and three during the last week as we lead you to the first preseason game of the year against the Steelers on August 12. In this series of articles we will be giving you a general idea of what to expect for each player, project stats for the upcoming season, and predict who’s making the final cut to keep your off-season boredom at a low dim and give you a chance to look at the roster before the first kickoff happens. This is the final week of these articles as kickoff is on Friday! For the final look on defense, we see how the safety position is looking for the Lions and check out who stays and who goes.

Glover Quin Stands Tall

Glover Quin is the only returning starter from last year as the Lions cut James Ihedigbo and Isa Abdul-Quddus signed with the Dolphins. Quinn had a good year in 2015, getting 67 total tackles, four interceptions (returning one for a touchdown), five pass deflections and one forced fumble. Quin will easily be the starting free safety again and he will have to lead the safeties and help lead the secondary with Darius Slay to help lock down the opposing offense and force them to run the ball.

2016 Projection: Starting Free Safety, 62 total tackles, three interceptions, eight pass deflections.

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Washington Becomes the Lone Wolf

Charles Washington is an undrafted rookie from Fresno State and looks to have the toughest path out of any of these players to make the team. At Fresno State, Washington had 198 total tackles, 14.5 for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, 17 pass deflections and one forced fumble and recovery. Washington can play cornerback too, but with that spot deep in competition, his best chance to make the team is at the safety position which will also be very hard for him. Washington doesn’t have the experience and talent to make it onto the 53 man roster.

2016 Projection: Cut.

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Killebrew Sits Back

Miles Killebrew had an average training camp. He was on the third string drills and had trouble at times catching the ball and in coverage. Killebrew had 356 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, three interceptions and three blocked kicks in his career at Southern Utah. While Killebrew will make the roster, his time on the field could be limited and he will only be out in certain packages.

2016 Projection: 10 tackles, one pass deflection

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Don Carey Keeps His Role

Don Carey has been with the Lions since 2011 and has always been a solid player. He mostly plays special teams, but his position on defense is safety and as a backup, he is reliable and durable. In his career Carey has 154 total tackles, three interceptions, nine pass deflections, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Carey could see an increase in game time with an injury prone starter in front of him, but either way expect him to be on the field at times on defense, but take over on special teams.

2016 Projection: 12 tackles, one forced fumble.

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Rafael Bush Starts

Rafael Bush is going to be the starting strong safety. While he has suffered injuries that limited his playing time in recent years, he looks to make that a thing of the past and have a fresh start in Detroit. Bush has 120 total tackles in his career, along with one interception, nine pass deflections, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. While he only has 14 starts in his career, he could make that jump with 16 this season.

2016 Projection: Starting strong safety, 40 tackles, five pass deflections, one interception, fumble recovery.

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Tavon Wilson – Same Shift New Place

Tavon Wilson was a backup safety in New England and was brought in to Detroit to possibly start. With Bush taking that starting job, Wilson will be doing the same things he did in New England in Detroit. Wilson only has 76 tackles, five interceptions, 10 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries in his career and only started four games. Despite those relatively low numbers he can still have an impact in Detroit and gives the Lions some comfort if Quin goes down.

2016 Projection: 25 total tackles, three pass deflections, one interception.

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Isaiah Johnson Looks on From the Practice Squad

Isaiah Johnson has only played in six games, getting one tackle. With Wilson and Bush coming in and Killebrew getting drafted, Johnson’s chances of making the 53 man roster are slim, but he can stay on the practice squad.

2016 Projection: Practice Squad

Final Safety Depth Chart

Free Safety

  1. Glover Quin
  2. Tavon Wilson

Strong Safety

  1. Rafael Bush
  2. Don Carey
  3. Miles Killebrew

Practice Squad

  1. Isaiah Johnson

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.