The Mitch Wishnowsky pick is still receiving mixed reviews around this site based off questions that won’t be answered until the next 4 excruciatingly long months pass. However, we can take a quick look into the effect of our punters in regards to the success of our team.
This isn’t the first time a punter has come under the microscope following the draft. Bradley Pinion’s selection in the 5th round met immediate scrutiny around this site. This may have been due to the loss of our Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee. The frustrating performance of Pinion and his inability to ever match the effectiveness of Lee followed. So, how bad was Pinion compared to Lee? In Pinion’s 4 years with the 49ers he averaged 43.7 yards per punt with 33.5% of the punts inside of the 20 yard line. Lee’s career average was 46.6 yards per punt with 32.8% of the punts landing inside the 20. As I sit back and remember the last ten years I am stunned that these statistics weren’t more lopsided. I remember Lee putting the nail in the coffin and Pinion shanking punts when all we needed was a little help.
When delving further into Lee’s numbers it can be seen that even with the tremendous success of a punter that our W/L ratio will depend on the ability of our offense to score and our defense to get takeaways. In 2007, Lee had an astonishing 42 out of 105 punts land inside the 20. That is a 40% rate while averaging 47.3 yards per punt. Our record as we all remember was a paltry 5-11. This information does not inspire the confidence of utilizing a 4th round pick on a punter.
However, let’s take a look at what we can expect from Wishnowsky. Mitch’s success rate of landing punts inside the 20 is 42%! His 45.7 yard average is longer than Pinion’s best season by 1.7 yards. Now, Wishnowsky did have the thin air advantage of Salt Lake but professional coaching will help his career. Punters do tend to gain a few yards in the NFL. Even if the coaching only equals out the altitude advantage of Salt Lake, the 49ers may have our best punter ever. The question will remain though on whether this even matters. As a faithful I believe MWIOF.
Now, on to the links:
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and friends spotted at 2019 Kentuck Derby (Jessica Kleinschmidt)
NFC Position Battles to Watch (2019 Fantasy Monitor) (Derek Lofland)