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Eagles Safety Search: Donte Whitner

The Eagles need help at the safety position. Is Donte Whitner an answer?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles will look to add some safety talent this season through both free agency and the draft. With three long-time Eagles safeties set to hit free agency and Pat Chung probably on his way out, Philadelphia may need to add several players at the position. The Eagles biggest priority for free agency may be bolstering the safety unit.

San Francisco 49ers pending free agent safety could be a name the Eagles have interest in. He's been part of a tough 49ers defense that has been responsible for a lot of the team's success. Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward are largely viewed as the top two safety options in free agency, but Whitner could deserve to be mentioned with the likes of them as well. Whitner is Rotoworld's third ranked available free agent safety.

NFL Career

Donte Whitner was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 8 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. In 66 starts, Whitner accumulated 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 321 tackles as a Bill. Whitner remained in Buffalo until the summer of 2011, when he became a free agent and signed with the San Francisco 49ers. In three seasons with the 49ers, Whitner has recorded 5 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 176 tackles.

Whitner made USA Today's All-Joe Team in 2011 and then earned a Pro Bowl selection a year after that in 2012.

Appeal to the Eagles

Whitner, who will turn 29 in July, stands at 5'10" and 210 pounds. He's a veteran safety who's a proven starter. Durability issues haven't been a concern in his career. Whitner never started less than 13 games in a season, except for 2010 when he only started 8 games and played in 10.

His knack for breaking up passes in coverage stands out. Whitner led all safeties in 2013 with a total of 15 passes defensed. He also proved to be an efficient tackler, recording 59 tackles and only missing 7.

Appeal to Whitner

I can't imagine Whitner will want to leave the Bay Area unless he's being paid to make it worth his while.

Bottom Line(s)

If the Eagles want to bring in a proven safety but can't land Ward or Byrd, Whitner could be the next best thing.

If Whitner can't work out a deal to re-sign with the 49ers, he'll be looking for a new job as a starter and Philadelphia has the opportunity and money to offer.

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