Andrew Van Ginkel was an enormous factor in the Miami Dolphins’ top-ranked defense in 2020.
From being selected in the fifth round of the 2019 Draft to starting at outside linebacker for the fastest rising team in the NFL, Van Ginkel hit on all marks in 2020 and continues to make big plays at critical times.
History of AVG
Only playing two seasons in the Big-12 at Wisconsin, Van Ginkel’s draft status was very uncertain going into one of the biggest offseason events of the year. He was superior in the core of the Badgers’ secondary, earning 99 tackles, with almost one-fifth of those resulting in TFL’s or sacks (12).
However, Van Ginkel’s lack of collegiate football experience made his road to a respectable depth chart position harder than others. That said, his presence was primarily on special teams during his rookie year, playing six games, where he’d garner 15 tackles while on the field for 18 percent of defensive snap counts and 21 percent of special teams snap counts.
Finally, a starter on defense
Nobody really knows what happened before the unprecedented 2020 season kicked off, but something truly clicked between Van Ginkel and head coach Brian Flores that allowed the young talent to play in more games and start at LB. This came as a surprise to many people after Miami brought in veterans Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts to build up the defensive core.
With the Dolphins’ defense being one of the biggest questions needing answers in 2020, Van Ginkel was a big part in helping answer that lingering question. He recorded career highs in all categories, totaling 48 tackles, seven of which were TFL’s, with 5.5 Sacks and three forced fumbles. Van Ginkel was a starter in 11 games, seeing the field on 46 percent of defensive snap counts and 71 percent of special teams snap counts.
AVG’s Best Trait
One trait Van Ginkel has grown in is his elusiveness and quick moves. His ability to predict the movement of the opposing QB or out-strengthen his matchup and get past the protector to have a straight path to the target is something truly remarkable. Any linebacker needs to have this to get great and to have any chance at being elite, and it seems like Van Ginkel has continued to perfect his craft through it all.
How can AVG continue to dominate in the NFL and with the Miami Dolphins?
Just like any other NFL player, the most Van Ginkel can do to stay a starter is to keep competing. If he really wants to continue his success and at minimum secure a starting position, he needs to be the most active in the offseason, preparing himself to be a vital part of Miami’s master plan in 2021 and beyond.
In an interview with NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” after the dramatic Week 16 win against the Las Vegas Raiders, Van Ginkel said, “It’s just a good feeling… just knowing that I’m doing everything that I can to help this team win and get better on a daily basis.”
And to be fair, “AVG” has surpassed expectations and has received a plethora of credibility from his coaching staff, teammates and fanbase for his hard work and will to improve.