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2017 training camp preview: Safety

On roster: Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, Miles Killebrew, Don Carey, Alex Carter, Charles Washington, Rolan Milligan 

Key loss: Rafael Bush

Making cut: Quin, Wilson, Killebrew, Carey

On bubble: Carter, Washington, Milligan

View photos of the safeties competing for roster spots entering training camp.

Best competition: Can Killebrew overtake Wilson as the starting strong safety?

This should be a fun competition to watch all throughout training camp. Wilson signed with Detroit last offseason as a free agent and won the starting job out of camp. He played in 15 games and racked up 89 tackles and two interceptions. He's a very smart player and he and Quin made a nice duo in the backend of Teryl Austin's defense.

Killebrew was the team's fourth-round pick last year. He played on all four core special teams units to start, but earned a role in sub packages as a hybrid safety/linebacker midway through the year. Who knows, maybe that's what Killebrew's role will be again this year, but he definitely is looking for more of a defined role.

Killebrew is big (6-2, 222) and fast, and if his football IQ and knowledge of the scheme catches up with his physical traits, it might be hard for Austin to keep him off the field.

The Lions have an experienced veteran with a track record of production competing against a physically gifted and hungry second-year player who looks to be the future at the position. Not a bad problem to have when the goal of training camp is foster good competition that makes everyone better.

2016 stats
Glover Quin 16 68 2 5 1
Tavon Wilson 15 89 2 2 0
Miles Killebrew 16 28 1 1 0
Don Carey 14 13 0 0 1
Alex Carter 1 0 0 0 0
Charles Washington# 0 0 0 0 0
Rolan Milligan 0 0 0 0 0
*     #2016 PS*

Twentyman's take: The Lions look good at the safety position heading into camp. They have a nice mix of veteran experience and youthful talent with good depth.

Quin, Wilson and Killebrew are an established trio. Don Carey has proven to be a Swiss Army Knife for this team with his ability to play either safety spot, the slot cornerback position if needed and on every special teams unit. In fact, he's one of the best special teams cover men in all of football. Not bad for a team's fourth safety.

Carey makes the cut in my opinion based off those factors. Plus, he's a terrific locker room presence for the young guys.

But the wildcard in the group is Alex Carter. The former third-round pick was converted from cornerback to safety this offseason and there are still so many question marks surrounding his move.

Quin was a cornerback when he first came into the league before also being moved to safety in his third season. After the switch, Quin took off and became the player we know him as today. If Carter embraces and can adapt to the physical nature of the position, who knows, he could be a nice fit there.

The Lions kept five safeties on the roster out of training camp last year. It all depends how the numbers shake out at other places to what they'll do this year, but this is one position the Lions should feel pretty confident about heading into camp.

By the numbers:

3: The Lions were one of only two teams last year (Tampa Bay) who had three safeties record at least two interceptions.

116: Consecutive games started in the regular season dating back to 2009 for Quin.

50: The Lions allowed 50 completions of 20-plus yards last season, which was tied with Baltimore and Chicago for 14th fewest in the league.

Quotable: "He can play back. He can play up. He can blitz. He can do a lot of different things and you just can't pigeonhole him and say, 'Hey, if this guy's here, this is what you get.'" Austin said of Killebrew this offseason.

"He gives you that type of flexibility."

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