If you read the headline and wondered who Dane Cruikshank is, you’re not alone. Nonetheless, the Chicago Bears have reportedly signed former Tennessee Titans safety Dane Cruikshank to a contract, per his agent on Twitter.
Cruikshank spent four years in Nashville but didn’t see the field much. 2021 marked his best career season as he appeared in 14 games (four starts) and tallied 43 combined tackles, a pass defended, and a forced fumble. He appeared in 12 games or more in his first two seasons, but prior to 2021 he was mostly a special teams contributor.
A fifth-round pick out of Arizona in 2018, Cruikshank has solid size. He’s 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and has been called by at least one Titans fan the “Tight End Eraser.” In fact, there’s an incredible video on YouTube by No Flags Film outlining his usage with the Titans in 2021.
After finishing this article, go watch the film. No Flag Films does a great job breaking down Cruikshank’s role in the Titans defense this past season as he became a mainstay by nullifying opponent’s tight ends. However, in addition to his warranted nickname, in order to play in the Dime package a player needs to show versatility. This is a sign that Ryan Poles values versatility on defense, especially in the new Tampa 2-inspired look.
I encourage fans to go to the 2:44 mark of the video. The breakdown on the trust factor the Titans had for Cruikshank is impressive. They confidently lined him up in man coverage against Travis Kelce. Not only that, he was effective against one of the league’s best tight ends. He might have limited film, but every solid team needs good role players and it appears Cruikshank is a guy that can bring a lot of value in his role.
The offseason is far from over. NFL free agency is still in full swing and the NFL Draft is less than a month away. The Chicago Bears will look to continue building around Justin Fields and for the future under first-year head coach Matt Eberflus. In the meantime, you learned about another player in the league that feels like a created player.
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