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Broncos roster 2016: Darius Kilgo

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The depth at nose tackle took a hit yesterday when free agent acquisition Phil Taylor was placed on injured reserve. The team will now look for second-year nose tackle Darius Kilgo to step up and fill the void behind incumbent starter Sylvester Williams.

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Now through the end of August, we will continue our 90-in-90 player series. If you missed the previous player breakdowns, you can check them out here.

Name: Darius Kilgo
Position: NT
Height: 6'3" Weight: 319
Age: 24 Experience: 2
College: Maryland

The University of Maryland has produced a lot of freakish athletes who made their way to the NFL over the past decade and Broncos nose tackle Darius Kilgo is no exception.

At 6’3, 319 pounds — Kilo is a behemoth on the interior of Denver’s defensive line and sports fantastic athleticism for a man his size.  Viewed as a player with tremendous upside due to his raw physical abilities, the Broncos used a sixth-round selection to acquire his talents in the 2015 NFL Draft.

When the Broncos placed nose tackle Phil Taylor on injured reserve yesterday, it was a clear message for Kilgo, who will now be the ‘next man up’ at the position and should see extensive playing time on the interior of Denver’s defensive front this coming season.  But he doesn't want to be labeled as just a nose tackle and knows he has a lot of work and preparation to do in order to become the best player possible. Kilgo is currently seeing reps on the second-team defense thus far during training camp.

Kilgo, who is still rough around the edges, saw action in nine games as a rookie and totaled six tackles and one pass defended.  Though those aren’t eye-popping statistics, Kilgo certainly made an impact in the games he played, even seeing time as the main nose tackle in Denver’s vaunted 3-4 defense.  

In his limited playing time, Kilgo demonstrated the ability to hold his ground at the line of scrimmage and help push the pocket to allow Denver’s defensive ends and outside linebackers to put immense pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The Good: Possesses great athleticism for a man his size.  Has tremendous upper body strength and is rarely moved backwards at the point of attack.  Exceptional run defender who plays with a fiery demeanor.  Above-average technique and uses his physicality to manhandle defenders at the line of scrimmage.  Good snap anticipation and is quick to hit his gaps.

The Bad: Has issues with his pad level and tends to play upright too often.  Despite his strength to push the pocket backwards, he offers very little in terms of pass rush.  Upper body strength isn't a question mark, but could stand to improve his lower body strength.

Quotable: "He’s done a good job for us. When he came into training camp and our OTAs, he looked real shaky. He didn’t look good. But then he started to get a little idea of what we’re doing. With his work ethic, he was practicing and working harder and things began to come for him." - Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar on Kilgo as a rookie in 2015

Status: Even though the Broncos signed veteran defensive lineman Billy Winn yesterday after Taylor was played on injured reserve, don't expect that move to hurt Kilgo's chances of making the team.  The coaches are impressed with his high character and diligence to improve every facet of his game and should end up as Williams' back-up at nose tackle on the final roster. I expect Kilgo to improve leaps and bounds this season and believe he will make his name known across the league with his performance on the field in 2016.