We already know that the future is in the building for the New York Giants at the quarterback position, with Daniel Jones having been drafted No. 6 overall as the heir apparent to Eli Manning.
Much farther down the list of priorities, and much farther out of the spotlight, could the future also be in the building for the Giants at another position currently held by a long-tenured veteran?
Zak DeOssie has been the Giants’ long- and short-snapper since 2007. Entering his age 35 season, DeOssie is as good as he ever was. Yet, you have to wonder how long he can go on — or how long he will want to go on.
Which makes the presence of undrafted free agent Jake Carlock, a former Stony Brook and LIU Post player listed on the roster as a defensive back, noteworthy.
Asked about Carlock during the Giants’ rookie mini-camp, his snapping acumen was the first thing Giants head coach Pat Shurmur mentioned.
“He is a very good long snapper. We are always looking for guys at skill positions,” Shurmur said. “He is a very accomplished linebacker as well.”
Let’s learn more about a player LIU Post head coach Bryan Collins called “the total package” during a phone conversation with me as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp.
How he got here
Carlock, like so many undrafted players, has an interesting backstory.
A Babylon native, Carlock chose hometown Stony Brook after a stellar high school career. He redshirted as a freshman, then played two seasons for the Seawolves. He chose to leave Division I Stony Brook to attend Division II LIU Post not to get more playing time or further his football career. He did it to prep for the future he wanted as a physical education teach and coach, since LIU had the PE major he was looking for and Stony Brook did not.
At LIU, though, he became a dominant defensive player. He led LIU in tackles in 2017, and was named the Northeast 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He had 67 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 hurries, 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, a blocked kick, 11 passes defensed and two interceptions in 11 games.
Collins said LIU used Carlock in a “Strike” position, “almost like a strong safety” in their 4-2-5 alignment.
“His skillset for us was that he was able to take up and occupy so much space for us. And could blitz off the edge. He’d be a force off the edge in the blitzing game,” Collins said.
“He’s so quick and athletic for his size that he occupied so much space in zones in the passing game that we decided just to keep him out there on nickel situations and let him play, make plays, which he did.”
Basically, that sounds like a player who, at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, was too much athlete for the Division II guys he was playing against.
“I just think at his size athletically he belongs [in the NFL],” Collins said. “He’s just a special athlete for us, and it’ll project.”
Will his skills project to the NFL? And will they lead him to a roster spot with the Giants?
The Giants list him as a defensive back. LIU Post did the same, even though he was really an “edge’ type player or a strong safety. With the Giants, Carlock worked with the inside linebackers during the team’s recent rookie mini-camp. He does have significant experience in coverage, so perhaps the Giants think he can evolve into a pass-covering inside linebacker for them as well as special teams player.
Collins said “many, many teams” in the NFL had contacted him about Carlock before he chose to sign with the Giants.
“He felt very comfortable with the Giants and their special teams guy [Thomas McGaughey],” Collins said. “Maybe they see him as somebody that might be an option for them down the road.”
Carlock has done both short-snapping on extra points and field goals, as well as long-snapping for punts.
“If you’re not going to be a star in the league you’ve gotta show that you’re going to be on special teams and do those types of things. Certainly he’s athletic enough to run down on kickoffs and be on those type of special teams, but what also sets him aside is the ability to short snap and long snap,” Collins said.
“I think that’s where he becomes a very attractive person to active rosters.”
Just speculating, but maybe, just maybe, the day will come when Carlock is snapping for the Giants instead of DeOssie.
“I think he’s got a good chance. I think if he doesn’t make it with the Giants I think there’s a couple teams that will scoop him up,” Collins said.
“He’s so deserving. I’m so happy for him. I’m actually relieved. At the smaller universities when you’ve got a kid sometimes they don’t get opportunities. You just pray that a special one gets an opportunity and I’m just really grateful that the Giants are giving him this opportunity. He’ll make the most of it. I really think he will.”