With Mac Jones coming off an impressive rookie season as their starting quarterback, the New England Patriots entered the 2022 NFL Draft well-set at the position. That said, seeing them add another player to the fold did not come as a surprise given the depth behind Jones: Brian Hoyer is 36, while Jarrett Stidham is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
Given those circumstances, the Patriots decided to use a fourth-round choice to bolster their quarterback position. The player they brought in was Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe, fresh off a record-breaking senior campaign.
Zappe’s impressive statistics — he set new FBS single-season records for passing yards (5,967) and passing touchdowns (62) — are not the only intriguing aspect of his selection. The 23-year-old, after all, also comes with no red flags regarding his injury history. In fact, we were able to find only one instance of Zappe visibly getting hurt during his high school and college careers.
2021 (Western Kentucky): Zappe completed 71.9 percent of his pass attempts for 488 yards and three touchdowns versus Michigan State, but he also appeared to get hurt on a 4-yard scramble in the third quarter. He came up limping after the run but stayed in the game despite some visible limitations. Zappe was back at full strength the following week, promptly throwing for 523 yards and five touchdowns versus UTSA.
What it means for the Patriots
New England has nothing to worry about when it comes to Zappe’s injury history. It can best be described as “virtually non-existent” for all intents and purposes.
His lack of size — he measured at just over 6-foot-0 and 215 pounds at the Scouting Combine — might be an issue against NFL-level competition, but Zappe has shown he can withstand a heavy workload. Of course, he is not expected to see much action in New England to begin with.