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S Donte Whitner - Cleveland Browns

5-11, 205Born: 8-24-1985College: Ohio StateDrafted: Round 1, pick 8

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The Browns turned to free agency and landed Donte Whitner to fill their vacant strong safety position. The eight year veteran spent the past three seasons at the same position in the San Francisco 3-4 scheme. He brings leadership to a suddenly young secondary as well as the skill set to fit Cleveland's aggressive style of play. Whitner is best suited as an in the box thumper but is able to hold his own in coverage as well. He may not be an upgrade over T.J. Ward in all aspects of the game, but Whitner does bring a more physical and intimidating aspect. In fantasy terms this could be a good marriage. During his first four seasons in Buffalo, the Bills failed to take advantage of Whitner's strengths. They played him off the ball in a cover-2 role and/or as a free safety at times. As a result his fantasy production was limited. In 2010 the Bills finally put him in position to take advantage of his strengths. That season Whitner was the top defensive back in the fantasy game with 95 solo tackles, 44 assists, 3 takeaways and 7 passes defended. Whitner then spent the next three seasons in San Francisco playing behind Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, which once again held his box score opportunity in check. The bottom line here is that Whitner has the potential to put up big numbers for Cleveland and is deserving of strong sleeper consideration. Pick him up as a third or fourth DB but do not be surprised if he finds a way into your lineup on an every week basis. (May 27)

FBG Staff Rankings

S Redraft - 24, 15, 24, 25, 33
S Dynasty - 36, 36

Stats and Projections

2011 SF 15 49 13 0 1 3 2 10 0
2012 SF 16 62 21 0 2 1 1 5 1
2013 SF 16 58 15 0 2 1 2 12 0
2014 PROJ-Rudnicki 16 66 * * * * * * *
2014 PROJ-Norton 16 68 * * * * * * *

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Cleveland Browns Team Links

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Footballguys Articles

Reading the Defense: Free Agency Review
  Jene Bramel - March 27
Reading the Defense: Free Agency Coverage
  Jene Bramel - March 15
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  John Norton - August 15
IDP Perfect Draft
  Jene Bramel - August 23
Reading the Defense: Defensive Back Tiers (Mid-Camp Update)
  Jene Bramel - August 20
Eyes of the Guru: Part 8
  John Norton - July 30
Eyes of the Guru Preseason: Part 1
  John Norton - June 9
Eyes of the Guru: Part 7
  John Norton - July 25
Reading the Defense: Defensive Back Tiers (Post-OTA Update)
  Jene Bramel - July 5
Reading the Defense: Defensive Back Tiers (Post-Draft Update)
  Jene Bramel - June 1

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2014 Schedule

1@ Pittsburgh Steelers
2vs New Orleans Saints
3vs Baltimore Ravens
4--- BYE WEEK ---
5@ Tennessee Titans
6vs Pittsburgh Steelers
7@ Jacksonville Jaguars
8vs Oakland Raiders
9vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10@ Cincinnati Bengals
11vs Houston Texans
12@ Atlanta Falcons
13@ Buffalo Bills
14vs Indianapolis Colts
15vs Cincinnati Bengals
16@ Carolina Panthers
17@ Baltimore Ravens