49ers: 3 things to expect from rookie Talanoa Hufanga in 2021
The 49ers selected Talanoa Hufanga in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. What are some things fans should expect to see from the rookie safety in 2021?
The San Francisco 49ers selected Talanoa Hufanga, a safety out of USC, with their fifth-round (180th overall) pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
For the current regime of head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, the fifth round has typically proven successful for them.
Lynch and Shanahan always tend to find their late-draft steals in the fifth round. In 2017, they found a tight end named out of Iowa named George Kittle. And he quickly blossomed into an All-Pro talent and one of the best tight ends in the league, breaking a record or two on the way.
In 2019 the duo drafted linebacker Dre Greenlaw in the fifth round. Although Greenlaw has not been an All-Pro or Pro Bowler as yet, he quickly became a starter and solid contributor in his rookie year.
Hufanga also looks to be another late-draft steal for Shanahan and Lynch. The native of Corvallis, Oregon had an exceptional career at USC being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American in 2020.
Although he was the 14th safety selected in the draft, he has a unique skill set among his rookie peers at the position.
He is a hybrid safety and linebacker type (he even got some snaps at nickel corner) and has already drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame safety and follow Trojan alum Troy Polamalu, with whom he trained pre-draft.
With his very unique hybrid skill set, what can we expect from Hufanga in the 2021 season?
Let’s take a look at three things that fans should expect to see from him in the upcoming season.