Whitner has legitimate complaint about ranking

Reid talks Whitner's mentorship, supporting Bowman

Whitner has legitimate complaint about ranking
February 28, 2014, 11:30 am
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Donte Whitner was ranked below Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward and Malcolm Jenkins among strong safeties. (USATSI)

Free-agent-to-be Donte Whitner is not happy.

The 49ers' starting strong safety of the past three seasons perused the rankings of NFL free agents on NFL.com. And he was none-too-pleased to discover he ranked No. 48.

“I'm the 48th best free agent available huh? LOL,” Whitner wrote on Twitter early Friday morning.

“I'm ranked behind guys that didn't even play in 2014.... You guys haven't watched the film and (definitely) don't know football!”

Among the safeties rated better than Whitner is Louis Delmas, whom the Detroit Lions released two weeks ago.

Whitner is rated as the fifth-best safety on the free-agent market. Jairus Byrd (Buffalo) is No. 4 overall, while T.J. Ward (Cleveland) is No. 14 and Malcolm Jenkins (New Orleans) is No. 38.

Whitner, who turns 29 in July, had an outstanding season with the 49ers. Not only did he help assimilate rookie Eric Reid into the action, but he performed on the field, too.

The hard-hitting Whitner was especially good in pass coverage, which has never been considered his strength.

According to Pro Football Focus, Whitner ranked as the fifth-best safety in the NFL in pass coverage. Whitner surrendered 25 receptions on 48 pass plays in which he was targeted for just 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Does Whitner have reason to be miffed?

Byrd, Ward and Delmas each ranked lower in pass coverage than Whitner, according to PFF. And Jenkins had a negative grade in pass defense.