49ers roster: 5 players impressing early during 2021 OTAs
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: 49ers Safety Talanoa Hufanga
He might not be fast enough to keep pace with some of the speedier pass-catchers at the NFL level. But rookie strong safety Talanoa Hufanga is finally getting some recognition during San Francisco’s OTA practices.
Grant Cohn explained here, too:
"Intercepted a well-thrown pass from Lance during 11-on-11s. Lance hit wide receiver Trent Sherfield in the hands near the sideline, but Hufanga snatched the ball out of Sherfield’s hands before he fell out of bounds. Incredible play. Hufanga finds interesting ways to make an impact."
The 49ers’ starting strong safety, Jaquiski Tartt, was out with a toe injury, perhaps related to the turf toe that ended his 2020 campaign prematurely. While the Niners are preparing Tartt to start, his injury has opened up a key competition for the primary reserve here.
Hufanga made a serious impact his final year at USC, registering four interceptions and three sacks in just six games with the Trojans last season. Despite his physical limitations, it’s beginning to look like he’s a simple playmaker, regularly contributing at the right times whenever necessary.
Even though San Francisco has older, more experienced defensive backs who could potentially back Tartt up, one might be safe to assume Hufanga is beginning to separate himself from the pack.