The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly had some level of interest in LB Andrew Van Ginkel, who ultimately returned to Miami. According to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Van Ginkel spoke with the Steelers during his brief time in free agency.
Here’s what Jackson wrote.
“Van Ginkel visited the New England Patriots last week and also spoke with the Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.”
He reportedly signed a one-year deal to stay with Miami. New DC Vic Fangio, regarded as one of the top defensive minds in football, could be the big draw.
Coming out of Wisconsin in 2019, the Steelers showed interest in Van Ginkel, bringing him in for a pre-draft visit. But the Dolphins drafted him in the fifth round. Limited by injuries his rookie year, Van Ginkel carved out a defensive and special-teams role the last three seasons. In 2022, he appeared in all 17 games, starting five, and recorded 47 tackles and an interception. He served as a core special-teamer, logging 68% of those snaps in 2022, 306 in total.
Pittsburgh is searching for EDGE depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, two stud starters but with little behind them. Without Watt for the first half of last season, the Steelers’ pass rush tanked and played a key role in their 2-6 start. Van Ginkel wasn’t a premier pass rusher but has 11 career sacks, including 9.5 across 2020 and 2021. He would’ve been a fine #3 OLB.
The Steelers reportedly showed interest in former first-round pick Bud Dupree, though there’s concerns about his age, health, and price tag. Perhaps Pittsburgh will add another veteran option before the draft. Failing that, they could look to the draft for additional depth. On the current roster, Jamir Jones and Quincy Roche are backup options while DeMarvin Leal showed the versatility to play stand-up linebacker. During the Combine, Omar Khan said it was the team’s intention to lean on Leal’s versatility in 2023, suggesting he’ll be employed in a similar role.