29-Year-Old Safety – Cleveland Browns
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Whitner tried to drop the "W' in his name to become "hitner" in order to reflect his playing style. He is an aggressive safety that can rack up tackles but hasn't recorded anywhere near his 140-tackle...
Donte Whitner Contract Information:
Signed to a four-year, $28 million deal with the Browns in March of 2014.
Whitner collected 10 tackles (five solo) in Sunday's loss to the Texans.
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|2014 Proj||28||CLE||Subscribe now to see our 2013 projections for Donte Whitner|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Donte Whitner: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)The hard-hitting Whitner, who recorded 73 tackles and two picks for the 49ers in 2013, is in line to replace fellow safety T.J. Ward this season, with his signing coming on the heels of the Browns' splashy addition of inside linebacker Karlos Dansby.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Whitner lead the 49ers' secondary in tackles with 83, but lost fellow safety Dashan Goldson to Tampa Bay in free agency. Whitner remains the 49ers starting strong safety for the upcoming season.
Whitner ended up with the 49ers in August, filling a pretty big void. With Jairus Byrd and George Wilson already under contract, the Bills seemingly handed Whitner the eviction notice by selecting Da'Norris Searcy in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Whitner, a run-stopping specialist, figures to have a good chance to start at strong safety in 2011. He shouldn't be expected to match his gigantic total of 140 tackles (96 solo) last year, and he almost never makes plays in coverage, but Whitner should be a decent bet to approach triple-digit tackles as long as he starts.
Whitner will be returning to his more familiar strong safety role under the Bills' new coaching staff in 2010, and he's expected to be the starter. Whitner has had a lot of ups and downs following his selection as the eighth overall pick in 2006, but some of that has been due to injuries. The team brass likes him a lot more than the fan base, hence there was little substance behind rumors that he might not be part of the team's plans any more. That said, the secondary is by far the strongest spot on this defense, and Bryan Scott will be pushing Whitner for playing time. He's an IDP option in deeper league, though he's never been a big playmaker and you'd have to watch the time the backups behind him and Jairus Byrd are getting, as Scott and George Wilson are both very capable safeties.
Whitner, normally a good tackles guy, had troubles with a shoulder injury in 2008 and finished with a disappointing 61 total tackles, a sack and a pass defensed. He had a good excuse, missing three games and parts of others with the nagging injury. The knock on his IDP value is in his lack of big plays -- no fumbles and two interceptions in three NFL seasons -- but part of that is because he's been playing almost exclusive strong safety, which in the Bills' system doesn't attack the ball a whole lot. This season, however, will likely see Whitner at free safety in many packages. One hundred total tackles and 3-4 picks would seem to be a possibility, and we like him as a bounce-back candidate.
Whitner's high tackle total from 2006 (105) is what made him such an intriguing IDP selection in last year's draft. His tackle total dropped to 89 last season, but he still holds value. Whitner is good in coverage and should see his play-making stats build (the Bills plan to use him as both a strong safety and a free safety this season to get him around the ball more) as he continues to rack up the tackles.
When a rookie places fifth among all defensive backs with 104 total tackles, you stand up and take notice. As a strong safety, Whitner's job in part is to support the run, and he does it with abandon. At 5-11, 205, he's not too large, but is very strong for that size. Strong safeties tend to be the worst defensive backs in coverage, but Whitner shows strong versatility with his speed and playmaking skills. That he had just one interception last year, then, is misleading and there's potential for him to expand that role this year, especially with the Bills going to more man-to-man coverage on defense (which will give Whitner more plays on the ball). Speaking of expanding, with the Bills losing London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes this offseason, a lack of linebacker experience in front of Whitner likely will allow him to poach even more tackles this year.
The rookie, assuming he doesn't miss too much of camp, will have a chance to compete for the starting strong safety role, trying to beat out Matt Bowen and Coy Wire. Whitner may have been taken a bit early at No. 8 overall, but any time a team can plug a huge hole with an instant starter, that can't be bad. Whitner, a vicious hitter with the speed to cover elite tight ends or slot receivers, was the second-best player on a dynamic Buckeyes defense, behind linebacker A.J. Hawk. Keep an eye on his progress if your IDP league runs deep. He may not be a stats monger in Year 1, but it should happen sometime soon in his career. Update: Whitner impressed early and won the starting job, beating out an injured Bowen and an overmatched Wire.