49ers Select S Talanoa Hufanga with the No. 180 Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft


In back-to-back picks, the San Francisco 49ers managed to bolster their defensive backfield after selecting safety Talanoa Hufanga with the No. 180 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Appearing in 24 games throughout his career at USC, Hufanga notched 203 tackles, including 16.5 for losses (with 6.5 sacks), eight pass deflections, four interceptions and four forced fumbles.

Starting all six games in 2020, Hufanga recorded a team-high 62 tackles, including 5.5 for losses of 33 yards (with three sacks), plus a team-best four interceptions for 90 yards (22.5 average), a team-high two forced fumbles and a pass deflected. He was ranked second nationally in interceptions (first in Pac-12), 16th in forced fumbles (sixth in Pac-12) and 18th in tackles (fourth in Pac-12).

He notched an interception in four consecutive games in 2020 (vs. Arizona, Utah, Washington State, UCLA), becoming the first Trojan to do so since safety Sammy Knight in 1996. He was named the 2020 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as AP All-American First Team.

Here's what NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about the safety:

"Safety with add-on potential who can come into the box and give his defense an additional linebacker look thanks to his strength and urgency near the line of scrimmage. He can handle zone-cover duties and matchups on in-line tight ends... He pursues the run with patience and leverage... He has box safety and nickel/dime linebacker potential."