When Safety Talanoa Hufanga was coming out of the USC football program and into the NFL Draft, he was not expected to be anything at all. NFL Draft "experts" claimed he was a "tweener," in that he was in between the ideal size for either a linebacker or safety.
Instead of realizing that his 6-0, 200 pound build is quite a gift, and gives him extra size at the safety position, the "experts" decided that being a great college safety who has even more size than most is actually going to not amount to anything after college.
So far, those predictions have failed miserably. Not only did Hufanga score a touchdown on special teams last year after he picked up a blocked punt to save the San Francisco 49ers' season and upset the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers on the road in the playoffs, but he's off to one of the best starts in the NFL this season:
USC football product Talanoa Hufanga has been visibly spectacular this year, even without the advanced analytics.
Second-year safety out of USC football, Talanoa Hufanga already has 17 tackles this season. Racking up three tackles for loss as a safety, he's been all over the field. He's already recorded three PD's, and has an interception as well. Again, he was already good last year. It wasn't just the one play, though. Having 32 tackles and two PD's as a rookie with only three starts was impressive.
This year, though, he's taken his game to another level. USC fans knew it would happen. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-American during his last season with the Trojans, he was destined for big things in the future, whether that was with USC or if he decided to go to the NFL.
This is the same guy who picked up 62(!) tackles with three sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss in that last year, despite the season being shortened to just six games due to COVID-19. He even had a couple forced fumbles that year, and FOUR interceptions. He was as elite as they come at the college level, and he's been developing very nicely in the League.