Mary Schwalm/Associated Press
On the surface, it probably seems like a waste of a roster spot to have one player solely devoted to performing one function, such as is the case with long snapper Zak DeOssie, the last remaining member from the Giants’ 2007 draft class.
If you’re of that opinion, I have two words for you: Trey Junkin.
Junkin, once widely regarded as a solid NFL long snapper, will forever be remembered for one botched snap, that coming in a January 3, 2003, playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers in which the Giants, trailing 39-38, had a chance to win with a 40-yard field goal.
Except, as George Willis of the New York Post recalls in his piece on Junkin, the snap was low and wide left, setting off one of the most bizarre sequences on a play that saw holder Matt Allen try to pass to Rich Seubert on a play in which the eligible Seubert was brought down to the ground before the ball got there, the officials missing the blatant pass interference call.
Junkin didn’t return to the Giants that next season, and four years later, the Giants had found their long-term long snapper.
DeOssie was originally drafted as a linebacker and long snapper, like his father Steve, who played for the Giants during the 1989-1993 seasons.
The younger DeOssie eventually converted full-time to long snapping duties after his rookie season and has since been one of the best at his craft in the NFL, earning two Pro Bowl berths (2008 and 2010).
What makes DeOssie so good for the Giants is that he’s usually one of, if not the first men down field on punt coverage, an impressive feat given that he not only has to snap the ball but then shed a blocker and hustle downfield despite not being the fleetest afoot.
Last season, the Giants’ special teams co-captain recorded 10 special teams tackles, which tied him with linebacker Spencer Paysinger for fourth-best on the team.
DeOssie also recovered one opponent’s fumble last season, that coming against Minnesota the third quarter of Week 7 that helped set up the Giants second touchdown of the game to make it 17-7.
Signed through the 2015 season, another underrated aspect about DeOssie has been his injury history which, per KFFL, has seen him show up on the Giants injury report in just three of the seven seasons he’s been in the league.
Considering that DeOssie continues to chase down punts, that’s a pretty good history right there, making him one of the most indispensable and underrated players on the Giants roster.