AP NEWS

Patriots Notebook: Former Denver Broncos defender Darius Kilgo tackles opportunity with Patriots

December 3, 2016 GMT

FOXBORO — The Patriots made a preemptive move this week for the seemingly inevitable point when defensive tackle Alan Branch serves his drug suspension, and Darius Kilgo wants to do his part in any way possible.

“The Patriots have always been known as a great team, going to Super Bowls all the time, so it’s a great opportunity for me,” Kilgo said. “I’m glad to be here and just to see where the future goes.”

The Pats claimed Kilgo off waivers from the Broncos this week, taking advantage of an AFC rival that jockeyed its roster due to an injury to its long snapper. Kilgo, a sixth-round pick out of Maryland in 2015, played 18 games for the Broncos over the past two seasons but was inactive for the Super Bowl run.

Though Kilgo hasn’t played more than 14 snaps in a game this season, he recorded five tackles and made an occasional appearance in the offensive backfield. It was somewhat surprising the Broncos decided to part ways, though they likely hoped to keep him on the practice squad before the Patriots pounced.

“It caught me off-guard a little bit, but hey, it’s part of the business,” Kilgo said. “At the end of the day, they had to do what they had to do, and I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. It kind of worked out for the best.”

The Patriots worked out Kilgo at his pro day before the 2015 draft, so they were familiar with his work. At Maryland, he lined up alongside former Patriots defensive tackles Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis.

Since Branch is appealing a four-game suspension for a positive marijuana test, the Patriots have to be prepared to maintain their depth in case the league upholds the ban.

So Kilgo is trying to catch up as quickly as possible.

“It’s been good,” Kilgo said. “Everybody here is great from the players all the way to the administration and coaches. I feel like I walked in and I’m welcome. I feel pretty good.”

Topping it Goff

Bill Belichick has in the past met with some of the draft’s top quarterback prospects, even though the Patriots almost certainly wouldn’t be in position to select them. The most commonly known recent example occurred in 2014 with Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel.

Though Belichick didn’t personally meet with Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who went No.?1 overall in April, he did collect plenty of background information.

“I watched him at Cal,” Belichick said. “I saw a lot of him actually two years ago. That’s kind of when I started on him, watching (former Patriots wide receiver) Chris (Harper) and the other receivers that came out. .?.?. So I remember when Chris came here, talking to Chris about Goff, kind of like ‘What’s the story on this guy?’ And he’s pretty good, but everybody was talking about him not coming out early and whatever. But just watching him play (in 2014) and then I watched him more in ’15, because I had seen him in ’14, and talked to Chris about him.

“I kind of got a feel there, plus I knew a couple of coaches out there at Cal, so I kind of followed up on that. It was pretty apparent to me then that this guy was an NFL quarterback. I mean, I didn’t know what round it was going to be or anything else, so that was going back to his freshman, sophomore year. So I’ve seen quite a bit of him from the last three years, but I haven’t had a lot of personal interaction with him, no. In fact, none.”

Back at it

Wide receiver Chris Hogan has dealt with a back injury since Week 10, when he clearly was limited against the Seahawks, and he missed the following week’s win against the 49ers. So Hogan, who has been limited in practice again this week, can loosely relate to the plight of tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“(Back injuries) are tough to deal with because they can come and go whenever it is,” Hogan said. “It’s just one of those tough injuries.”

Roster notes

Linebacker Elandon Roberts (jaw) was added to the injury report yesterday, continuing a wild stretch for the Patriots, who have added a new player to the report or had a new absentee at practice every day for the last two weeks. .?.?.

Trey Flowers, who was limited the last two days with a shin injury, had his left shin wrapped while in the locker room after practice. .?.?.

The Patriots added fullback Glenn Gronkowski to the practice squad, just two days after releasing him. This is his fourth stint with the team.