49ers 53-man roster: Power ranking each unit entering 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Mitch Wishnowsky, Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers punter/holder Mitch Wishnowsky (6) and kicker Robbie Gould (9) Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Ninth: 49ers Specialists

Starters: K Robbie Gould, P Mitch Wishnowsky, LS Taybor Pepper

Perhaps the only position group, and a group loosely lumped together at that, the 49ers have constant issues with would be the specialists. Long-snapper Taybor Pepper has endeared himself to Niners fans on Twitter, and his play last year was picturesque for a long-snapper because he never became a point of contention when he played.

His counterparts, though, are less fortunate.

Robbie Gould was paid a hefty amount of money by the 49ers to be their kicker, and though his accuracy has been pinpoint from within 50 yards, age has caught up to him, causing long-distance field goals to be much more of an issue.

Robbie Gould in San Francisco
Game 0-19 0-19 20-2 20-2 30-3 30-3 40-4 40-4 50+ 50+ Scor Scor Scor Scor
2017 35 16 8 7 11 11 18 17 4 4 95.1% 30 28 93.3%
2018 36 16 9 9 13 13 10 9 2 2 97.1% 29 27 93.1%
2019 37 13 9 9 10 8 8 6 4 74.2% 42 41 97.6%
2020 38 15 3 3 6 5 10 9 4 2 82.6% 38 36 94.7%

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 7/28/2021.

Over the last two years, Gould is just 2-for-6 on field goals beyond 50 yards; that compares quite unfavorably to the six field goals he’s missed total from within 50 yards. Gould will be the kicker for the next two years, but as time continues to pass and his range reduces, the Niners are stuck with a kicker who doesn’t provide them a game-changing element in the third phase of the game.

It’s not like the punting unit has added any value to that critical third phase of special teams. Though San Francisco’s gunners themselves have been quite decent the last few years, punter Mitch Wishnowsky has come nowhere even close to the level that was at the minimum expected of him as a fourth-round pick.

That’s not to say Wishnowsky is atrocious; he’s not. He’s just an average punter who doesn’t change field position in the way the Los Angeles Rams’ Johnny Hekker does.

With a roster that features playmakers at nearly every position, the only position group without one falls to last in the rankings.