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Where 49ers’ Talanoa Hufanga ranked among PFF’s top safeties

Jun 3, 2024 at 1:10 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers anticipate Talanoa Hufanga's return before the start of the regular season, hoping he can begin practicing sometime during training camp after a challenging recovery from the torn ACL that cut short his 2023 campaign.

Getting Hufanga back would be a significant boost for the 49ers defense. During his last full season in 2022, the safety earned Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.

"It's always scary coming back from an ACL, but once you come back, in this day and age, it's usually okay," head coach Kyle Shanahan said in March. "[We] expect to get him some time in training camp, so that should be all right."

Despite his injury-shortened 2023 season, Pro Football Focus recognized Hufanga's talent by including him in their ranking of the top 32 NFL safeties. Hufanga secured the 13th spot on the list, placing just ahead of Budda Baker from the Arizona Cardinals.

"Following a breakout 2022 season, Hufanga had his 2023 campaign cut short due to injury," Pro Football Focus contributor Zoltán Buday wrote. "However, he still nearly matched his interception total of four from 2022 by picking off three passes across nearly half as many snaps."

In addition to those picks, Hufanga recorded 52 tackles, two tackles for a loss, and three passes defensed before his injury. The former fifth-round draft pick allowed a career-low 72.9 passer rating when targeted by opposing quarterbacks, conceding only one touchdown in 384 coverage snaps, a significant improvement over the six allowed in 2022.

Below are the 12 safeties ranked higher than Hufanga.

  1. Antoine Winfield Jr., Buccaneers
  2. Kyle Hamilton, Ravens
  3. Jessie Bates III, Falcons
  4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers
  5. Marcus Williams, Ravens
  6. Jevon Holland, Dolphins
  7. Derwin James Jr., Chargers
  8. Xavier McKinney, Packers
  9. Kyle Dugger, Patriots
  10. Tyrann Mathieu, Saints
  11. Jabrill Peppers, Patriots
  12. Kevin Byard, Bears

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