49ers rookie power rankings as 2021 preseason comes to a close

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 /

49ers Rookie Power Rankings: No. 3

. . Talanoa Hufanga. 3. player. 42.

49ers Safety Talanoa Hufanga

Another one of San Francisco’s fifth-round picks, safety Talanoa Hufanga, has been quite the storyline from draft day all the way through two preseason bouts.

Sure, there were questions about whether or not Hufanga’s straight-line speed would be adequate enough to keep up with pro-level tight ends and running backs. But the 49ers have exploited Hufanga’s versatility and actually lined him up as a single-high free safety at times.

Looking at the film and the kind of hard-hitting impact Hufanga has had thus far, those scouting reports appear to be inaccurate.

Pro Football Focus has already given the USC standout a solid 66.2 defensive grade thus far this preseason, which isn’t bad at all considering he was a day-three pickup. What’s arguably been more impressive is his energy and noticeably high reaction skills on the field.

The lone element keeping Hufanga from being higher on this list is the Niners getting starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt back from his turf-toe injury, essentially ensuring Hufanga will be no more than a backup and special teams ace to begin the season.

Still, he’ll be effective at that.