The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last fall, Talanoa Hufanga is sure to attract plenty of interest in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Whether it's in pass coverage, helping out against the run or blitzing the quarterback, the former USC safety can do it all. Hufanga's versatility combined with his character gives him a pretty high ceiling for whichever team decides to draft him.
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Talanoa Hufanga Draft Profile
An athletic, aggressive box safety who plays with an alpha mentality, Hufanga has a lot of the “positionless” traits defenses are looking for. He’s a hammer attacking downhill in the run game, taking instinctive angles and packing a wallop when he gets to the ball carrier. He has proven capable in coverage as well, mirroring tight ends and competing hard at the catch point. He’s an excellent blitzer, with a good sense of timing and the closing burst to finish plays.
He missed time in 2018 with a broken collarbone and in ’19 due to a shoulder injury and a concussion; his physical playing style might always put him at risk of injury. As far as his play goes, he’s much more comfortable attacking downhill and initiating contact than sitting back in zone coverage, where he can be slow to react and close after his drop.
He has to be used in a way that takes advantage of his aggressive nature, but Hufnaga’s football character will stand out as much as his ability in run defense or man coverage. If he stays healthy, he has a chance to become a Pro Bowl safety.
Final Grade: 2nd/3rd round