49ers’ Australian kicker shows he can hit

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The 49ers used a fourth-round draft pick on Mitch Wishnowsky, a 27-year-old kicker/punter who played Australian-rules football in his homeland before playing college football at Utah. The early returns are positive.

That’s not only because of Wishnowsky’s leg strength, but also because the power of his tackles. He delivered a brutal hit on Broncos return man Devontae Jackson on Monday night. While most kickers and punters are only the very last line of defense, Wishnowsky likes to run down the field and hit the returner, rather than waiting for the returner to come to him.

“I hang back and then if there’s a gap to fill I’ll just run in there,” Wishnowsky said after the game, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wishnowsky appreciated the attention he got from his teammates.

“A couple of high-fives and things on the sidelines,” he said. “It was nice the team got around me.”

In addition to handling kickoffs, Wishnowsky averaged 48 yards on his six punts on Monday night. A fourth-round pick is a lot to give up for a punter, but the 49ers like the early returns.

11 responses to “49ers’ Australian kicker shows he can hit

  1. An extra man running down the field on a kickoff or punt is a huge advantage, just don’t want him to get hurt, but if he keeps hitting like that he might hurt somebody else first.

  2. While a kicker/punter who likes to tackle is definitely an injury risk, I do like his approach. Hang back, look for where your teammates have left a potential gap in coverage, and then plug the hole. He’ll probably prevent more than a few long returns with that approach.

  3. Special Teams is most underrated angle of the game, and punters/kickers are the most invisible impact players. Kicker performance critical for field position, even the bad ones are highest scorers on the team, there are no higher-pressure game situations than what kicker deals with, and its a maddening mind-break kind of pressure not seen in any game this side of golf. This has been magnified all the more with extra-point rule change a couple years ago.

    Fact article states burning a 4th round (4th round!) pick on a punter as “expensive” says much about misappropriation of value to the position. As an example, the Patriots’ long run has featured exactly two kickers – HOF’er Vinatieri, and the automatic Gostkowski. There’s a lesson there.

  4. I wouldn’t want my kicker or punter trying to make himself famous like this. Because he WILL become famous. Just google Joey Julius gets hit.

  5. You don’t want a punter or kicker to shoot the gap. You want him to hang back to try to angle off or just slow down a returner enough so his teammates catch up.

  6. When a kicker can deliver a ‘snot-bubbler” to a runner, it’s always a good day in my book.

  7. Need your guys help/opinion.

    WHICH NAME DO YOU PREFER MOST?

    A) Mitch WishPOWski
    B) Mitch WishKOwski
    C) Mitch WishISawItComingSki

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