49ers roster: Stock up, stock down on 2021 NFL Draft class

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /

San Francisco 49ers. TALANOA HUFANGA. Stock Up. . Safety

49ers S Talanoa Hufanga

It was pretty easy to get excited about the 49ers’ final pick from Round 5 of the draft, former USC safety Talanoa Hufanga, who had four interceptions and three sacks over just six games for the Trojans a year ago.

Yet there were concerns about Hufanga’s straight-line speed and whether or not he’d be able to keep up with NFL-level tight ends and running backs in the open field. These notions led many to conclude Hufanga might solely be an in-the-box safety and special teams contributor.

But that’s not what the game tape against the Chiefs revealed.

Read More: 49ers have a budding gem in Talanoa Hufanga

DeMeco Ryans regularly put Hufanga into free safety mode, placing him atop the defense where he could make a physical impact on plays developing in front of him. And while there weren’t too many instances where Hufanga had to react deep down the field while in coverage, the rookie’s efforts resulted in four tackles, yet his presence on the field shouldn’t be understated.

Hufanga was already making plays in training camp, but his being able to produce as a high safety against another offense aside from that of the Niners helps increase his stock value at this point in the preseason.