Day three of the NFL Draft has been a busy one for the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers started the day by trading back with the Cincinnati Bengals for the 8th pick in the 4th round and getting picks 110, 183 and 198. Next, they traded LB Dekoda Watson and a 2019 6th-round pick to the Denver Broncos for a 5th-round pick.
Getting Their Wish
With that 8th pick in the fourth, the 49ers drafted Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky. The 27 year-old Wishnowsky is originally from Australia and started his college career at Santa Barbara City College before transferring to Utah.
In his first season at Utah, Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy Award, given to the best collegiate punter. He was a finalist for the award the following two seasons. In 2018, Wishnowsky registered 59 punts for 2,669 yards, with 24 of them being inside the 20.
Wishnowsky said that the 49ers talked to him about potentially handling kickoffs at times, which is something he’s comfortable doing.
“In the workout I did some kickoffs,” Wishnowsky said. “I was hitting the ball well. But yeah, I mean, they mentioned it’s obviously a weapon, either the kicker or the punter can kick off, but if they’re both good at it, it’s just a plus.”
Wishnowsky’s path to the NFL started when he was spotted punting while playing for a semi-pro team in the West Australian Football League. He had two operations on his left shoulder that sidelined him from Australian football for awhile.
“…[F]or fun [I] would go down and play flag American football with a couple of my mates at a park, and basically was seen there punting and messing around by a guy called Craig Wilson, who knows Nathan Chapman and John Smith at ProKick Australia, and then a few months later I was out fishing and got a call from John, and John told me he would change my life, send me to America, all that good stuff,” Wishnowsky said. “I went home, told my folks that John Smith is going to send me to America, and they thought I was smoking something. I ended up just handing in my resignation at work, moving to Melbourne for a year to train and learn the standard two-punt spiral because we sort of learned to punt on the run in Australian football. Yeah, moved to Santa Barbara to junior college, played one year, did 18 months to finish my AA degree and then went to Utah for three.”
And now, Santa Clara. Welcome to the 49ers.