Not one, not two, but three legendary NFL defensive backs now see the comparison of 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga to Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu.
After All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and Hall of Famer Charles Woodson made the comparison on Twitter during the 49ers' 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, legendary 49ers cornerback/safety Ronnie Lott joined KNBR 680's "Murph & Mac" on Tuesday morning where he raved about Hufanga.
Talk about a glowing review from three of the most prolific defensive backs in NFL history.
"The kid is phenomenal, and what I love is the timing, and the anticipation, and the feel [for the game]," Lott said. "What's great is that here's a guy that looks like he's moving faster than everyone else. And what I mean by that is his anticipation of understanding the moment. So, those kinds of situations where you are anticipating feeling the game, understanding the game, seeing the field, and being present to know, 'I'm trying to observe all of what's going on, on the field,' that's what you want to see from all of your guys."
Not only is Hufanga a safety with a flowing head of hair similar to Polamalu, but Lott sees some instinctual similarities between the two on the field and what the 23-year-old safety is able to anticipate so well.
"This young man, the way he gets around, and what he does, and the plays that he's made so far have been just outstanding," Lott added.
"To me, what I see is, I see a lot of Troy," Lott said. "And the reason I see a lot of Troy is that the beauty of when you watch somebody, when you watch what they do, and how they do it, it mimics certain things. So what I've seen is the mimicking of certain situations where getting across the line of scrimmage, or being able to anticipate on a blitz, or being able to see something that you watch on film and being able to anticipate that in getting to the position you need to get to."
Hufanga was limited to a backup role in 2021, playing in 15 games and starting just three of them. After longtime safety Jaquiski Tartt signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency this past offseason, Hufanga was the one to replace him at the strong safety position.
Through three games, Hufanga has been one of the 49ers' most impressive players and should help to create one of the best safety tandems in the league once veteran free safety Jimmie Ward likely is activated off Injured Reserve prior to Week 5.