Darius Kilgo has plenty of it.
The Maryland nose tackle, who had a predraft visit with the Green Bay Packers, wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine despite being a three-year starter.
“I was very surprised, actually, but I wasn’t really down about it,” Kilgo said this week. “I know there’s guys every year that don’t get Combine invites that end up getting drafted. I kind of just looked at it as fuel to the fire and it just motivated me to train harder and come out best prepared for my pro day and show scouts what they missed out on at the Combine.”
While the Scouting Combine snub provided some short-term fuel to the fire, Kilgo only has to go home to find his source of long-term motivation. It’s there where he’ll find Drayden Kilgo, who was born on March 5. He was a little over 6 pounds at birth — meaning he’s got a long way to go to catch up to his 6-foot-3, 313-pound father.
“Just knowing that going into the NFL you have a mouth to feed and a son to take care of and being able to set a trail for him to follow by being an overall great person, it definitely adds motivation,” Kilgo said.
As any new dad can attest, having a baby means a few naps at night rather than a long stretch of restful sleep. For Kilgo, that means he’s getting up at about 2:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. every day to help care for Drayden. And then maybe changing a diaper or two between workouts.
“Going into the season, I knew I was going to have a child in March so I mentally got prepared for going through this process and then being the best dad I can be,” he said. “I love being a father. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Preparing for the NFL and being a father, it’s definitely a blessing. I look forward to every day. One day I hopefully can put myself in a situation to take care of my son and not have anything to worry about. It’s definitely a great feeling.”
Having to block him wasn’t a great feeling for the Big Ten’s centers. As a senior in the middle of the Terps’ 3-4 defense, Kilgo started all 13 games, finishing with 43 tackles (31 solos), which included two sacks and eight tackles for losses. He recovered four fumbles and blocked one kick to be an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team.
Still, that wasn’t good enough to get him a trip to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine. That set the stage for a critical pro day on April 2. He showed his power with 33 reps on the bench press. Of the 55 defensive linemen who were at the Combine, that count would have ranked sixth. For a man his size, his 40-yard clocking of 5.19 seconds was perfectly acceptable. Kilgo said he received a lot of positive feedback from scouts about his drill work.
“I wasn’t really nervous because I had prepared every day since January for this one day,” Kilgo said. “I definitely had butterflies in my stomach going into the facility, just knowing it was actually here. Once I got in there, I was pretty relaxed about everything. After a while, I just relaxed and had fun with the other guys out there.”
Kilgo is considered a late-round pick or priority free agent. For the Packers, who re-signed B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion to one-year deals recently, they have time to develop a young prospect. If Kilgo were to land in Green Bay, he’d be battling Mike Pennel, a college free agent last year, to be that guy.
For Kilgo, a native of Matthews, N.C., getting a call on draft weekend will be a dream come true.
“I actually haven’t thought about the feeling. I want to say I’m not going to cry but I really don’t know,” he said. “Just being that I’ve played this sport for so long, I’ve had the opportunity to put myself in this position. To actually be playing in the NFL is just mind-blowing. I don’t know. I think I’ll be speechless. I just don’t know what the feeling will be like. There will definitely be joy. I just want to be around my family and we’ll celebrate. It’s been a long process and a long road building up to this accomplishment. It will definitely be exciting.”email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.