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49ers

After trading the second pick in the fourth round to the Cincinnati Bengals, the 49ers finally made their first Day 3 selection.

The 49ers selected Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky with the eighth pick in the fourth round -- a lot earlier than the typical spot where specialists are selected.

[RELATED: 49ers draft pick Hurd switched to WR for longer NFL career]

Mitch Wishnowsky

Position: Punter
College: Utah
Height: 6-2
Weight: 218
Selection: Fourth round (No. 110 overall)

Scouting report

Wishnowsky, 27, is a native of Perth, Australia. He won the Ray Guy Award as college football’s best punter in 2016.

He was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 punter as a senior He averaged 45.2-yard average. Wishnowsky forced 25 fair catches on his 59 punts and placed 24 kicks inside the 20.

“Wishnowsky's punting style is more about control than power and once he gets into the league and eliminates the Aussie punts, we will see his hang time take a big step up,” analyst Lance Zierlein wrote on NFL.com. “While teams might like to see a little more leg from him when it is time to flip the field, his consistency and ability to work with control as a pooch punter will be more meaningful.”

One troublesome stat from Wishnowsky is that he had three punts blocked last season.

Projected role

Wishnowsky was the first punter selected in the draft. He is set to replace Bradley Pinion, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent.

 

Wishnowsky joins Justin Vogel on the roster, but clearly, Wishnowsky will win the job because of the investment of a fourth-round draft pick. Vogel averaged 44.4 yards (41.6 net) in 2017 with the Green Bay Packers in 2017. But Vogel lost his job last year when Green Bay used a fifth-round pick on JK Scott.

Wishnowsky will also be the holder on all field-goal and point-after attempts. He is capable of taking care of kickoffs, too.

What they’re saying

"We had a number of teams we felt were interested in adding a punter, and felt like he had distances himself in the fact that he kicks off and he's a very good holder as well. So all those things fit into the puzzle" -- GM John Lynch on why the 49ers selected Wishnowsky in the fourth round.

"The hard thing you have to figure out with him, everybody knows he's the best punter in the draft, and when is he going to go? You always want to take that as late as possible. You'd love to do it in the seventh, but I promise you we wouldn't have gotten him if we tried to do it in the fifth. The Patriots traded up to take the next guy" -- 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

"You have guys who have the ability with the big leg but don't have the hang time. He has a rare ability to hit it deep but also with elite hang time. So he's kind of a combination that you look for. He's a real good prospect, and that's a big deal. I think people saw last year with (Michael) Dickson up there in Seattle. He really benefitted their team. And we felt like this guy was that type of prospect" -- Lynch.

“He’s an outstanding athlete. He is composed under pressure and has all of the kicks a punter is now required to do. He has been one of the best at being able to place the ball inside the ten, so he is extremely accurate and his hang time is in the elite bracket. He just has a super all-around ability to get the ball where it needs to be." -- Nathan Chapman, Wishnowsky’s Australian punting coach.

"I just have to work on my consistent get off and make sure that doesn’t happen. I’ve been working a lot in the offseason, and I feel I got everything tightened up, so I’m confident that can be avoided easily” – Wishnowsky on working to avoid blocked punts in the NFL.

“I can kick with my left foot decent. It’s nothing pretty. I definitely prefer to put it on the right, but if necessary I can throw it on the left and maybe get something out of it” – Wishnowsky on his ability punt with either foot.