MIAMI FL - DECEMBER 19: Tight end Anthony Fasano #80 of the Miami Dolphins is upended by cornerback Donte Whitner #20 of the Buffalo Bills during a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 19 2010 in Miami Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
One of the big perks of being part of SB Nation is having access to some fantastic bloggers when a little perspective is needed. Whether it be new free agents or new draft picks, our NFL and college blogs are loaded with top tier talent. One such writer is Brian Galliford over at Buffalo Rumblings. BR got started up shortly after NN and has become the go-to spot for Buffalo Bills analysis.
I shot him an email and asked for his thoughts on one of the newest members of the 49ers, safety Donte Whitner. Brian came back with some very interesting comments, which I've posted after the jump. Whitner comes across as a very solid safety that won't wow us. Given the ups and downs the 49ers have seen in recent years, I can live with that.
The more interesting comments related to Whitner off-the-field. Whitner described him as a thin-skinned and someone who has gotten into some beefs on Twitter. As Brian said in his comments below, let's just hope a change of scenery will help him settle down a bit. I'm more concerned about on-field performance, but given how wide open society is these days, we have to at least address off-the-field issues.
On to Brian's comments after the jump...
If you're looking for a review of his on-field skills: Whitner's an excellent athlete, and he's versatile. He can play strong safety, free safety, and even some slot corner for you. It's easy to say that his biggest strength is in run support, because that's where all of his numbers are, but I've thought for years that he belonged in centerfield as a free safety. He's much, much better surveying and making plays coming forward than he is in the box, because he's not a very big guy. He's a reliable (if unorthodox) tackler - expect to see him lead with his shoulder a lot - and he's not much in the way of creating big plays. In short, expect consistency, but nothing flashy. Not unless the Niners use him much differently than the Bills did, at any rate.
If you're looking for a review of following him as a fan of the team: Be prepared to be frequently aggravated. Maybe a change in environment will help him settle, but in my experience, this is one of the thinnest-skinned athletes I've ever encountered. He's a "read your own press clippings" type, and a bit of a drama queen. He got into arguments with Bills fans on Twitter a lot, and alienated some of his teammates by bolting Buffalo before locker clean-out day this past January. A very large number of Bills fans won't miss Whitner the person, and high percentage of them won't miss Whitner the player, either.