The countdown until the Chicago Bears start their season is underway, and now we are counting down the 90-man roster. This will rank which players may have the most value on the roster entering the 2023 season. We are just starting things off and are onto number 86.
Chicago Bears roster ranking 2023: No. 86 Aron Cruickshank
Aron Cruickshank is a rookie UDFA wide receiver from Rutgers. He started his career at Wisconsin but could not get on the field early on and transferred to Rutgers. He spent three years with the Scarlett Knights.
Cruickshank had 241 yards in 2020, 244 yards in 2021, and then last year, he posted 377 yards, the best of his career. He also spent 74% of his snaps as a slot wide receiver. So, Cruikshank is a bit undersized and profiles only as a slot, and he was not productive in college. You can see why he fell to the UDFA ranks.
What has Cruickshank this far down the roster is the wide receiver depth chart above him? He could not have picked a worse time to try to join the Chicago Bears wide receiver room. Between D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool it is as deep as it gets. Then, they drafted Tyler Scott. They also have Velus Jones, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Dante Pettis. One of them made the roster last year and will get cut this year.
When you add in Nsimba Webster and Joe Reed, it is hard to find any breathing room here. The only thing Cruickshank has going for him is special teams. He played multiple phases at Rutgers, and he returned kicks and punts. However, one minor issue is he has 102 kick returns and just 11 punt returns. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have depth at kick returns, and the punt return job could get him closer to the roster.
Guys like Webster and Reed are return specialists, so it is hard to see him beat them out for a practice squad spot, let alone a roster spot. This keeps him down in the 80s as he enters training camp.