By Jeremy Hritz
Name: Bailey Zappe
Birth Date: 4/26/1999 (22 years old)
40-Yard Dash (estimated): 4.7
Class: Graduate Senior
If you are looking for a quarterback prospect who is uber-prolific and has set the stat book on fire, look no further than Bailey Zappe out of Western Kentucky University. As a graduate senior at WKU in 2021, Zappe threw for 5967 yards, 62 touchdowns, while only 11 interceptions on 686 attempts. This broke Cincinatti Bengals Joe Burrow’s touchdown pass record, as well as the NCAA passing yardage record, previously held by BJ Symons in 2003. Were these numbers just a product of a system, and as has been shown before, will Zappe fizzle in the NFL? This question cannot be answered yet; however, Zappe’s production is more than worth close evaluation by NFL teams to determine whether or not he has a place on an NFL roster, and potentially, as a starter in the league.
Zappe began his career at Houston Baptist as a Husky (Division I, FCS), where he played for three years before transferring to Western Kentucky. In his lone season with WKU, Zappe led his team to a 9-5 and a bowl victory in the Boca Raton Bowl, 59-38 over Appalachian State. His destruction of NCAA records not only caught the attention of college football fans, but also NFL teams’ scouting departments preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Zappe’s production cannot be diminished, nor should it be discounted, as he shattered NCAA passing records that are highly impressive. He is a cerebral, intelligent signal caller, able to understand what is expected of him within an offense, while at the same time able to process the defense in order to determine where he should go with the football. This ensures he has the essential information needed to make the best decision possible for which receiver to target.
Zappe also has demonstrated awareness in the pocket, able to feel pressure and move accordingly, and when necessary, he has enough speed and agility to move around and buy time, and scramble for a first down if needed. While he should not be expected to be a highly-mobile prospect, he has enough skill to get the job done.
The biggest concerns regarding Zappe center on his arm strength and whether or not he has a legitimate NFL arm. While he has put quality throws on tape and is consistent in ball placement, he doesn’t show a cannon in his deep ball, and there should be concern as to whether or not his throwing talent can compete with upper-echelon QBs in the NFL.
There are also questions regarding Zappe’s size (6’1), accuracy while throwing on the run, and lack of big-time college football experience. At this point, Zappe is considered a day-3 selection, but his Combine performance (if he is invited), in addition to his showing at his Pro Day, could boost his standing to round 2-3.
Whatever the outcome, this much is for certain: Zappe is a fun prospect to study, his productivity is astounding, and the thought (though it may just be a pipe dream) of him putting up similar numbers in the NFL is worthy of teams doing their due diligence.