The New England Patriots, a team known for making surprising draft picks, turned even more heads when they selected Western Kentucky quarterbacks Bailey Zappe with a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Patriots already have an incumbent starter, last year’s first-round pick Mac Jones, and re-signed professional backup Brian Hoyer to a two-year, $4 million deal in March. So how does Zappe figure into the picture for New England?
Patriots estimated QB depth chart
1. Mac Jones
2. Brian Hoyer
3. Bailey Zappe
Fantasy football breakdown
Jones gave the Patriots a lot to believe in as a rookie last year, throwing for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a 92.5 rating. Of course, anything can happen, but Jones’ job is about as secure as it gets in the NFL. Hoyer’s role is more akin to a coach this year than anything else, helping Jones and the offense through the transition period after losing long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in the offseason. For Zappe, the main task is to beat out Jarrett Stidham in camp for the third spot on the depth chart. That shouldn’t be a problem.
Zappe’s an intriguing prospect. His college career brought him to Western Kentucky in 2021 after a few seasons at Houston Baptist. Last season he set an NCAA single-season record with 5,967 passing yards and 62 touchdown passes with just 11 interceptions. He even added three rushing scores.
Small school quarterbacks don’t get a lot of breaks, which is why it was so easy to overlook Zappe in this year’s draft process. He turned in a pretty solid effort at the Senior Bowl too. He’s got enough talent to be one of the more interesting developmental prospects at the position to keep your eye on over the years. But he’s not going to unseat Jones, and unless he can impress Bill Belichick in camp and the preseason, he might not get a shot this year unless both guys ahead of him on the depth chart can’t play for some reason.