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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bills' Whitner a locker-room leader



By Mark Gaughan

September 4, 2008

Draft for character


Overall, the Bills have a better track record than most teams for avoiding players who get into trouble.

Donte Whitner is one of many examples of the Bills looking for a locker-room leader.

Whitner was the No.‚8 pick in 2006. The Bills stuck to their draft board in taking Whitner No. 8 in 2006, even though defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (now with Baltimore) arguably may have filled a bigger need.

"Besides the football talent, he had great intangibles," Modrak said. "He has a great work ethic. He kept his own notebook on each team they played against at Ohio State. He had the ability to cover man [to man] out of a safety position. He was a relentless player. He kind of clicked off all the right things, including the kind of person he was, and that position is a leadership position."

While Ngata is a force now for the Baltimore Ravens and the Bills recognized his talent, they simply did not think he fit Jauron's defensive scheme. Ngata is a stay-at-home run plugger.

"We wanted Donte a little more," Modrak said. "It wasn't a negative on Haloti. There would have had to have been some adjustments for Haloti. He's not a run-and-chase kind of guy."

The Bills scouting staff has a clear view of what the coaching staff wants, which speaks to the next principle, perhaps the biggest the Bills are trying to embrace.

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