Talanoa Hufanga starting this year was a huge question mark for the 49ers.
In his limited action last year, Hufanga's biggest weakness was speed. I was concerned with it as you can't teach speed. I prefer safeties to have range and I wasn't confident he had it.
For Hufanga to raise his game to be starting caliber, he would need to bump up his play-recognition and overall awareness to make up for that lack of speed. Not only has he done that, he's bumped up every skill in his arsenal including speed.
Hufanga has been a "home run" player for the 49ers.
Any critic or concern with him should be quelled. I know it has only been two games and a lot can still change, but he has undoubtedly been stellar. Pro Football Focus has Hufanga graded as the BEST safety so far, as he's neck-and-neck with Minkah Fitzpatrick. Hufanga is not only one of the best safeties right now -- he's been the 49ers' best defensive player (yes, over Nick Bosa).
Hufanga looks like spider-man out there with how much ground he is covering. He's demonstrated his typical box-safety robber look, which he excels at. Plus, much to my surprise, he is out there covering Tyler Lockett ONE-ON-ONE. I was shook to see him given that responsibility and such trust. DeMeco Ryans believes in this guy and Hufanga proved why by locking up a tremendous receiver in Lockett.
Again, it is still early as the season is barely heading into Week 3, but I have seen enough. I am giving Hufanga his flowers and am a believer in him. All of his believers beforehand have every right to take a victory lap. And his critics should just take their lumps and be satisfied that the 49ers so far have gotten this draft pick incredibly right. He is doing things that Jaquiski Tartt couldn't be trusted with.
Just imagine when Jimmie Ward returns how lethal of a duo they will be. Having two versatile safeties that perform at a high-level will only make the 49ers defense more of an unfair side. All Hufanga needs to do is keep his foot floored on the gas pedal and continue his great form.
There should be little to no doubt that he will sustain this level.