On Thursday, an article on NFL.com co-written by Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling was released ranking the 2014 NFL free agent class. San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner mocked the article where he was ranked 48th out of 101 players listed.
Whitner also tweeted the following statement:
"I'm ranked behind guys that didn't even play in 2014.... You guys haven't watched the film and defiantly don't know football! #Hitner."
With a few signings off the board, Whitner was moved up to 46th overall on the top free agents list. The two players who played less than half of the 2013 season include Raiders OT Jared Veldheer (8th) and Eagles QB Michael Vick (34th).
Whitner was ranked as the fifth-best safety among the 101 free agents on the list. Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is 3rd, while Browns safety T.J. Ward (13th) and Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (38th) are all ahead of Whitner. Louis Delmas, who was recently released by the Detroit Lions is 50th overall.
The 49ers pending free agent will be 29 years old in July and he is coming off a top notch season in San Francisco. Whitner was wrongfully penalized for what referees determined as illegal hits three times this season. The veteran safety was able to boast how he wasn't fined by the league for any of his hits in 2013.
Whitner tremendously helped San Francisco in pass coverage and worked as a strong mentor to rookie Eric Reid, who was the team's free safety. He was targeted only a handful of times by opposing offenses as he allowed only two touchdowns all season.
Even though he was penalized several times, the tape shows he didn't illegally hit anyone, thus justifying his "Legal Hitner" name. Whitner hopes that penalties can be reviewed in the NFL on big hits, making sure calls are correct and not affecting the game.
"Too many times a play looks bad and the official throws the flag, but it ends up being a clean play," Whitner said in December. "Just because it's a powerful hit doesn't mean it's an illegal hit."