The 49ers are hoping rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga can make an early impact, yet his presence shakes up the team’s depth chart at the position.
The San Francisco 49ers needed to solve two primary issues at safety heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.
For starters, they needed to add some quality reserve pieces to bolster the depth behind the two starters, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, particularly with the knowledge both players have had extensive injury histories over their respective careers.
Additionally, Tartt is back with the Niners on a one-year deal, so grabbing someone who could potentially take over the starting job in 2022 was also going to be on general manager John Lynch’s radar.
Right now, the hope is San Francisco’s fifth-round draft pick, USC safety Talanoa Hufanga selected at No. 180 overall, can be the player who slides in and eventually replaces Tartt.
Hufanga, 6-foot-0 and 199 pounds, joins an awfully crowded 49ers safety depth chart. But just because there are a lot of bodies at the position heading towards training camp doesn’t mean the Niners have a great deal of starting-caliber options to guard against injuries to Ward and/or Tartt this upcoming season.
So finding players who could serve as reserves initially yet who also have the ability to spot start is going to be a primary objective for players like Hufanga under the eyes of San Francisco’s coaching staff.
Where will Hufanga fit into the bigger picture, and which players at this position find themselves on the roster bubble already with offseason programs yet to take place?
Let’s take a look at the 49ers’ current safety depth chart, storylines to watch and what the regular-season roster might look like at this position.