Dane Cruikshank signs with Atlanta Falcons after six months on open market

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans
Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Dane Cruikshank's Arizona career

Dane Cruikshank, JuJu Smith-Schuster
USC v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Cruikshank played for Arizona from 2015-17 after taking the JuCo route at Citrus College from 2013-14. After redshirting his freshman year, he started all 12 games at boundary cornerback for Arizona in 2016 and snagged a team-lead-tying two interceptions.

In 2017, Cruikshank moved to safety and continued to excel, starting all 13 games and being named one of four team captains by the end of the season. He hauled in three interceptions and returned one of them 64 yards before going down. He also notched 74 total tackles, five pass breakups, and a forced fumble.

Tennessee Titans: 2018-22

Dane Cruikshank
Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

After proving his worth as a safety, the Titans drafted Cruikshank in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 152nd overall pick. He played in eight games in his rookie year where he logged 11 tackles and one noteworthy play: a 66-yard receiving touchdown on a fake punt pass from fellow safety Kevin Byard against the Houston Texans in Week 2.

In 2019, Cruikshank once again played in eight games for the Titans, primarily as a special teams player. He finished the year with 10 total tackles and yet another big play: a blocked punt against the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of a Week 13 game that Tye Smith took 63 yards to the house to put Tennessee in the driver's seat for the game. The Titans won 31-17.

Cruikshank's 2020 season was decimated by injury, and he only played in three games between two stints on injured reserve. The lone bright spot was logging his first career interception off of Ben Roethlisberger against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7.

He bounced back by playing in a career-high 12 games in 2021 for Tennessee and notched a career-best 43 tackles. He was at his best from Week 3 to Week 7, where he played in four out of five games and logged 26 tackles and his only pass deflection and forced fumble of the season.

Later NFL career: 2022-24

Dane Cruikshank
Chicago Bears v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Though the Titans didn't re-sign him, the Chicago Bears were in the market for his services. They signed Cruikshank in March of 2022 and he played in one game for the Bears: Week 7 against the New England Patriots where he logged one tackle.

He landed on IR by the end of the season, and the Jets were the next to take a flyer on the former Wildcat. However, they cut ties with him before the season began. The Titans brought him back to Nashville and he didn't see any action, but he was on the active roster for Weeks 5 and 6 before his release in November ended his 2023 season,

Cruikshank is joining a secondary group that contains Jessie Bates, A.J. Terrell, and former second-round pick Richie Grant. The Falcons will likely utilize Cruikshank in a special teams role to see what value — if any — he could bring on Sundays. However, his future in Atlanta likely screams 'practice squad'/

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