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.