49ers 2021 NFL Draft live tracker, reactions and updates
By Peter Panacy
Round 5, Pick No. 180 Overall; S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
No, the 49ers still weren’t done reinforcing their secondary after grabbing a couple of cornerbacks already. And the next defensive back on the list, USC safety Talanoa Hufanga, is someone who finished strong in 2020 despite the Pac-12’s limited season.
Over that brief stretch, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Hufanga recorded four interceptions over just six games, flashing some ballhawk tendencies the Niners hope continue into the pro level.
The interception skills are nice, although Hufanga is projected more to be a close-to-the-box safety and someone who can blitz off the edge. Case in point, the last two seasons, he picked up 6.5 sacks the last two years. USC also didn’t hesitate to play him as a free safety, adding to his versatility.
San Francisco re-signed veteran strong safety Jaquiski Tartt to a one-year deal during the offseason. But considering Tartt’s injury history and the lack of quality options behind him on the roster, pulling in a player like Hufanga with the potential upside of being a long-term replacement surely isn’t a bad idea.
Even if Hufanga’s hard-hitting ways have resulted in a bit of an injury history, too.
At the worst, he’ll compete for a spot on the depth chart with reserves like Tarvarius Moore and Marcell Harris.