With Alan Branch staring at a potential four-game suspension, the New England Patriots shored up their defensive line Monday.

New England claimed Darius Kilgo, a 24-year-old defensive tackle out of Maryland, off waivers from the Denver Broncos, waiving running back D.J. Foster to make room for him on the 53-man roster. Patriots coach Bill Belichick explained the signing Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.

“Well, Darius is a big kid that’s pretty athletic, a hard-working kid, has a good work ethic, good intangibles,” Belichick said. “We did some work on him coming out of the draft, and we look forward to working with him. He was available and again, I wouldn’t say we’re — it gives us another person at that position that I felt like we needed from a depth standpoint.”

A sixth-round pick in 2015, Kilgo played in 18 games for the Broncos over the last two seasons, recording 11 tackles. At 6-foot-3, 319 pounds, he’ll add size to a unit that, without Branch, would be very thin, in both depth and weight.

Branch, who currently is appealing a four-game ban he received for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, has started every game for the Patriots this season and has been one of New England’s most consistent defensive players. He’s also by far the most experienced player in an interior defensive line unit that consists of rookies Vincent Valentine and Woodrow Hamilton and second-year pro Malcom Brown.

Expect Valentine to see the biggest boost in playing time if and when Branch’s supension is handed down.

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images