When Talanoa Hufanga was drafted by the 49ers last year, he had one goal on his mind for his rookie season as he entered the NFL. To be selected to the Pro Bowl for his contributions on special teams.
“You have to have an open mindset to be versatile, any way you can get on the field and be ready for special teams as well. I think that’s a big component, this is a big statement but it’s something I’ve always preached, being a special teams pro bowler my first year is a goal of mine. I think a lot of guys get caught in playing right off the bat, and so for me I understand there is a level to it. I just want to be the best I possibly can be, so I’m just grateful for this opportunity.”
While Hufanga didn’t get that coveted pro bowl selection as a special teamer in year one, he earned an even more prestigious honor in his sophomore season after being selected to the pro bowl at his primary position as a safety.
Hufanga’s meteoric rise has been phenomenal to watch unfold before our eyes. He is now being honored among the league's elite after being recognized by fans and his peers alike as one of the actual difference makers on the back end.
This accolade is well deserved as Hufanga ranks in the top ten in a handful of critical statistics this season, including pass breakups and interceptions. Here’s where Hufanga currently ranks among qualified safeties this season.
Stops - 6th
Pass breakups - T-2nd
Interceptions - T-3rd
Passer rating when targeted - 6th
Forced Fumbles T-1st
The only bowl that Hufanga and his teammates are currently concerned about is the one that begins with “Super.” However, nonetheless, this is still an exceptional achievement that helps put the finishing touches on an incredible season for Hufanga on an individual level.