Name: Talanoa Hufanga
Weight: 199 lbs
Overall Rank: No. 89 overall
Position Rank: S7
Strengths: Talanoa Hufanga has been an alpha within the USC program since he arrived as an early enrollee and saw starting time as a freshman. He’s been the starter at strong safety for the Trojans for the last two seasons and heads to the NFL with his stock still ascending. As a processor, Hufanga is really impressive and combines excellent instincts with well-trained eyes to routinely be around the ball. He’s a see-it-and-go kind of downhill player in the run game that tracks well and fits the run with appropriate leverage. He carries an NFL-ready frame and won’t be surprised when he’s expected to play with physicality in the box. Tackling technique is consistent and shows impressive finishes on film, with the power to wrap and drive through tackles. USC moved him around on defense and that versatility in alignment and assignment could provide the kind of early roster flexibility that teams want. He will be a no-doubt core special teams player early in his career and could become a starter soon.
Weaknesses: Hufanga has broken the same collarbone twice within a short time period and NFL teams will want their own medical professionals to evaluate the long-term effects and concerns of the injury. Hufanga isn’t a single-high safety in the NFL and will struggle if asked to roll over the middle of the field routinely. Play speed is maxed out and average-at-best for the position and his 40-yard dash at the USC Pro Day confirms that speed, limiting some of the defensive matchups he can handle. He likes to put the statement hit on film and will occasionally fail to play with solid technique, creating some moments of lunging, diving, or off-balance shoulder charges. Those might work from time-to-time in college, but NFL players won’t be impressed with that technique.
What I Love: Hufanga plays football like the best kid on the playground. Line him up wherever you want and he’ll get the job done.
NFL Comparison: Adrian Phillips
Position Specific Traits:
(key: +, ++, +++ positive scale | -, - -, - - - negative scale)
Athletic Ability: +
Man Coverage: ++
Run Support: ++
Zone Coverage: ++