Despite only playing two seasons in Madison, Andrew Van Ginkel definitely made his presence felt for the Wisconsin Badgers’ defense. He recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown against Ohio State in the 2017 Big Ten Championship game. He then followed up that performance with an interception against Miami in an Orange Bowl victory.
One of the very rare junior college products that end up at Wisconsin, Van Ginkel began his collegiate career at South Dakota before transferring to Iowa Western Community College. When T.J. Watt declared early for the NFL Draft, Van Ginkel was given the opportunity to make an immediate impact for the Badgers. The outside linebacker, who looks and sounds more like the lead singer of a Alice in Chains cover band than he does coming off of the edge to attack quarterbacks, took full advantage.
The Pittsburgh Steelers concluded the predraft visit process Wednesday by hosting a linebacker who has a knack for getting after the quarterback.The Steelers hosted Wisconsin’s Andrew Van Ginkel, who projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Van Ginkel played at three schools. He started at South Dakota, where he redshirted as a freshman. After two years there, he transferred to Iowa Western for a season. He finished with two seasons at Wisconsin, where he made 10 starts in 27 games with the Badgers.
In his two years playing in the Big Ten, Van Ginkel had 99 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He also forced four fumbles, broke up five passes and had two interceptions.
Van Ginkel is projected as a late-round draft pick.The Steelers used their allotment of 30 official visits, plus they hosted three local players who didn’t count against that total.The 2019 NFL Draft is now behind us. Wisconsin had four players — Michael Deiter (Miami Dolphins), Ryan Connelly (New York Giants), David Edwards (Los Angeles Rams), and Andrew Van Ginkel (Miami Dolphins) selected while Chris James (Chicago Bears), Taiwan Deal (Washington Redskins), Alec Ingold (Oakland Raiders), T.J. Edwards (Philadelphia Eagles), and Beau Benzschawel (Detroit Lions) were all picked up after the draft.
Of the 33 players the Steelers hosted, they met with eight linebackers, seven running backs, six cornerbacks, four wide receivers, three safeties, three tight ends, one defensive end and one offensive lineman.The interviews are over, the final 40-yard dashes have been timed, and the next visit all these NFL hopefuls make to teams will be to pick up their uniforms.
Thursday, April 25, the pre-Draft process ends and the actual selections begin, and a group of former Badgers shed that “prospect” label and become real life NFL players. But until the clock strikes 7 p.m., and that transition starts happening for real, we still have about 24 more hours to talk in hypotheticals.
Former Badgers Beau Benzschawel, Michael Deiter, David Edwards, T.J. Edwards, Olive Sagapolu, D’Cota Dixon, Alec Ingold, Ryan Connelly, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Taiwan Deal are all hoping to take the next step and make a career for themselves in the NFL. It won’t happen for all, heck, it may not happen for any, but draft analysts and experts project at least a chance for several.
Coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2018, Wisconsin should have a busy weekend when the 2020 NFL Draft arrives next April. Offensively, the Badgers return five starters off one of the nation’s most lethal rushing attacks last season. UW also returns six starters on defense, many of which are multi-year starters.