When the San Francisco 49ers made punter Mitch Wishnowsky their fourth-round selection in April's draft, the Niners Faithful shared a collective facepalm. If you are the New England Patriots and you use a mid-round pick on a punter, who cares? You are already a deep team consistently in championship contention.

The 49ers aren't there yet. There were too many roster needs to use a mid-round pick on a luxury selection, right? Was it a luxury selection, though?

Wishnowsky has looked good in practices. Really good. Head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't get to sit there during practices with a stopwatch and time his punter's hang time. One reporter did, though. And he clocked two at about five seconds.

"That's pretty good, then," Shanahan responded on Thursday. "Alright, that's what I thought."

The selection has the potential to really help the defense by providing some excellent starting field position. Special teams are technically one-third of the game but are often the forgotten portion of the roster and game plan. Ask the Chicago Bears how vital the unit is.

Shanahan joined KNBR on Thursday and was asked about Wishnowsky, which led to a discussion about special teams. Does the coach ever remind his punter that the team used a fourth-round pick on him?

"Definitely," Shanahan jokingly told Mark Willard and Tom Tolbert. "I remind people about that a lot. I remind (special teams coordinator Richard) Hightower."

As he has said before, Shanahan jokes that the selection took away some of his offensive street credibility, but the team's decision-makers, including him, all wanted to make sure Wishnowsky ended up with the 49ers. That's how highly they thought of him in that draft room.

This offseason was the first during which Shanahan had to evaluate punters. He sat down with Hightower and the special teams coaches, general manager John Lynch, and the scouts. Every player looked the same to him, save one prospect — Wishnowsky.

"What was neat was when Mitch got up there, you could see it on tape," Shanahan continued. "It was so much drastically different than the other guys. Really, this being my first time in my career, this offseason, just watching punters and stuff, it's kind of hard to tell the difference. But then when Mitch got on, and it was that drastic, we were excited to get him in the fourth.

"I know he wasn't going to be there for a fact in the fifth (round), and we feel very fortunate to have him here."

Hightower on Friday discussed some of the things he pointed out to Shanahan in their evaluation of Wishnowsky.

"I just pointed out things […] in terms of the way he catches the ball, the lines he takes, the directions he punts the ball, the hang time he has, the ability that he has to get out of sticky situations, his 40-time," Hightower said. "He can run; you guys all know that. We're excited to work with him. We're going to have some fun with him. We're excited."

Then Shanahan went on to discuss special teams in general. In addition to potentially upgrading at punter, the 49ers got a multi-year deal done to ensure that their kicker, Robbie Gould, returns to the team.

"Special teams can win games," Shanahan said. "There's no doubt about it. But they can sure lose a lot of games if you don't pay attention to it. You've got to get some players in there, and you've got to stay healthy on your roster. You can develop your backups to help you on special teams.

"I think some stuff that we've been struggling with in our two years here is a lot of guys who have started out the year on special teams are our starters halfway through the year. A lot of our roster, almost everyone on our roster, except for guys like (Joe) Staley, and [DeForest Buckner], and some of the guys who have been starters since Day 1, they've all played special teams."

That experience has helped create more depth this year and, hopefully, can help the 49ers finally turn a corner.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.