A glance at Dane Cruikshank’s stat sheet wouldn’t tell you much about his NFL career. The defensive back has 21 career tackles and zero pass deflections and interceptions.
His biggest claim to fame was actually when he caught a 66-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt. But dig a little deeper and Cruikshank is actually one of the most productive players at his craft, which is special teams.
According to Pro Football Focus (who spelled Cruikshank’s name wrong), the former Arizona Wildcat had the fifth-highest special teams grade in 2019 among players with 300 or more snaps:
Cruikshank played 81 percent of Tennessee’s special teams snaps (compared to one percent of its defensive snaps), per Pro Football Reference. He thrives as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.
“I feel like special teams is just based off effort,” Cruikshank told The Tennessean. “You just have to be willing to beat the man in front of you. You know what I’m saying? And want to be dominant … I want the coaches, after they see the film, to say, ‘Dane’s working hard. Dane can’t be stopped.’ Or, ‘We’ve got to game plan around Dane.’ I want to cause chaos out there; you know what I’m saying? That’s what I try to do.”
Cruikshank was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Before that, he joined Arizona as a junior college transfer and played cornerback and safety, amassing 134 tackles, five interceptions and 12 pass deflections in two seasons.
Cruikshank is entering the third year of a four-year, $2.7 million contract with the Titans.