ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --When settling into a new job, it helps to see a familiar face -- even if it's one staring across from you at the line of scrimmage before the snap.
At the Broncos' recent rookie camp, Kilgo lined up and saw offensive lineman Max Garcia -- a former teammate and practice foe from their days at Maryland. Garcia transferred to Florida; Kilgo remained in College Park. But they didn't lose touch, and when the Broncos called their names on the draft's third day May 2, they called each other.
"As soon as we both got drafted, we kind of reached out to each other and kind of congratulated each other," Kilgo said. "It's definitely great having Max out here."
Both have similar attributes woven throughout the DNA of many of the newest Broncos added to the roster this offseason: toughness, persistence and a bit of a rugged edge. Kilgo describes Garcia as "a real physical guy" from their one-on-one duels at Maryland's practices, and Kilgo brings that same quality to nose tackle.
That's a good starting point, but now it's up to him to hone his technique, with the assistance of Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar.
"He really puts the emphasis on being technicians, being really physical defensive linemen up front," Kilgo said. "He's taught me a lot [so far] and I'm really taking it all in."
Physically, Kilgo has the tools to succeed as a nose tackle: he has some pass-rush ability, but he also does well at establishing his position and making himself difficult to drive out of his position.
But some of his success in reaching this point is not just due to his brute strength, but to his ability to know what is coming -- which he knows is key to his position.
"Just being able to read the center and the guard, just being able to read the whole offensive line, formations," Kilgo said, when asked about the keys to being a good nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment. "Just being able to call out certain offensive schemes and being physical. Just being a physical guy, getting your footwork and your hand placement correct and just being physical up front."
Kilgo knows what he needs to do to stick and claim a roster spot -- and playing time with it. Now he has to do it.
"I'm just coming in, competing every day," Kilgo said. "Whatever the coach has planned for me to do, that's what I'm going to do to the best of my ability."