Talanoa Hufanga knows he likely will primarily be a contributor on special teams for the 49ers in his rookie season, and already has his sights set on a lofty goal.
"This is a big big statement but something I've always preached, at being a special teams pro bowler in my first year is a goal of mine," Hufanga told reporters Saturday after the 49ers chose him with the 180th overall pick. "I think a lot of guys get caught into trying to play right off the bat on the wrong parts. I understand there's a level to it and I just want to be the best I possibly can be. I'm just grateful for this opportunity."
Hufanga played a variety of roles in the USC defense during his three seasons in Southern California. During his final season with the Trojans, Hufanga was a ballhawk, intercepting four passes and forcing six total turnovers over a five-game span in 2020.
The 49ers chose a pair of defensive backs prior to Hufanga in the fifth round, selecting Deommodore Lenoir with the 172nd overall pick, and closing out Day 2 of the draft by taking Ambry Thomas 102nd overall.
Hufanga should have ample opportunity to play special teams for the 49ers in his rookie season, and given how grateful he was simply for the 49ers to take him in the draft, he'll have a chance to live up to that goal in 2021.