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NFL Draft Profile: Bailey Zappe, Quarterback, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

NFL draft profile scouting report for Western Kentucky quarterback, Bailey Zappe

i
98

#4
Pos: QB
Ht: 6004
Wt: 215
Hand: 0968
Arm: 3138
Wing: 7448
Vertical: 30
Broad Jump: 0901
DOB: 4/26/99
Eligible: 2022
Victoria, TX
Victoria East High School

Bailey Zappe
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers


One-Liners

The 2021 NCAA leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, Bailey Zappe is well-equipped to be a solid backup in the league because of his intellect and passing prowess. He is held back by a weaker arm and sub-par athleticism.

Pros: 

Even though he is definitely on the shorter side for a quarterback, his frame is compact and durable. Zappe understands the offense extremely well and it shows through the way he works through his progressions, play in and play out. He is able to look off multiple options before coming across the open guy on any given play. Remains very poised and balanced in his throwing motion. He is a great leader on and off the field and shows a lot of passion when he plays the game. Has the smarts to make pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He displays precise touch on his deep passes to drop the ball into the breadbasket of his target on vertical routes. Looks off defenders well on RPO’s. Zappe has the capacity to put zip and keep a tight spiral on short to intermediate throws. Good pocket awareness to sense pressure and realize the need to escape. The Western Kentucky quarterback shows really good ball placement overall in his game, especially over the middle of the field. He also shows the impressive ability to thread the needle through traffic when needed. Very mentally tough and can play through pain. 

Cons: 

Zappe doesn’t have the biggest arm, which shows up on his throws outside the numbers and beyond 25 yards or so. Will underthrow the ball on deep passes that have led to interceptions this season. On those deeper throws, his passes don’t have the required velocity to be able to make those throws at the next level on a consistent basis. At times, he will have some lapses in throwing mechanics that will allow an easy pass out of the flat sail high on him. With how the NFL is continuing to trend towards the more athletic quarterbacks, Zappe doesn’t fit this mold of quarterback. He’s had his fair share of intentional grounding penalties by throwing the ball into the dirt or to the sidelines, which will need to get ironed out at the next level to limit those types of bad decisions. Doesn’t always have the required athleticism needed to extend plays when pockets break down around him. 

Summary: 

Former Houston Baptist transfer, Bailey Zappe is the 2021 NCAA season leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Zappe is smaller in stature, but makes up for it with his intellect and leadership. He understands concepts extremely well in real-time, making pre-snap adjustments to plays and scanning his options well before unleashing the ball. He operates well over the middle of the field in intermediate areas. His biggest question is his arm strength, which will hurt him especially in today’s NFL, along with sub-par athleticism. He has the tools to become a very solid backup quarterback in the league. 

Background: 

Bailey Zappe attended Victoria East high school in Texas where he passed for 3,770 yards and 37 yards and rushed for 650 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior and was also an academic all-state honoree. After high school, he was not ranked by major recruiting services.’

Zappe committed to Houston Baptist University and in 2017 he appeared in 10 games, with nine starts as a true freshman. Zappe completed 150/266 passes for 1,548 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In 2018, he started all 11 games and earned All-Southland Conference honorable mention. Furthermore, he completed 252/436 passes for 2,812 yards, tied for the conference lead and ranked 12th in the nation with 23 touchdowns and threw 13 interceptions. In 2019, Zappe started all 12 games, completed 357/560 passes for 3,811 yards, 35 touchdowns (led the nation) and 15 interceptions. In 2020, Zappe started four games due to the abridged season and completed 141/215 passes for 1,833 yards, with 15 touchdowns and one interception.

In 2021, Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky where he started 14 games, completed 476/687 passes for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Zappe set the FBS record for single-season passing yards and touchdowns, beating Joe Burrow’s record in one less game. Zappe was named a Manning award finalist, the Conference USA MVP and All-CUSA First Team.


Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

5.8 / 7.3

Injury History: Injured ankle against Michigan State, played through it.

Character Notes: Great leader on and off the field. First guy in, last guy out. Dedicated. 

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Latest News:

9/5/21 - Western Kentucky senior signal-caller Bailey Zappe made good on his Hilltoppers debut, tossing for 424 passing yards, along with seven touchdowns during their win over UT-Martin in week one. The record-setting transfer quarterback from Houston Baptist played an efficient game, completing 80% of his passes, while connecting with 11 different wide receivers, including five different targets for scores. "It felt great," Zappe said of his night. "To be honest, that stuff doesn't happen without receivers like we have and the offensive front. To be able to come out clean, with no sacks or pressures, is big. . . . It was a great start, great start to the season. I love it, it's awesome, look forward to doing it more." With over 10,000 career passing yards at the FCS level, Zappe continues to try and convert scouts into believers. He has showcased the ability to make all the throws and has tremendous poise in the pocket. The graduate senior has had a prolific collegiate career, as the accolades continue to pile up. The NFL will have no choice but to pay attention. 

12/04/21 – A record-setting quarterback who transferred up from Houston Baptist, Zappe has proven to be a cerebral pocket-passer who can make all the throws. With one more expected bowl game left to play, Zappe is just 289 passing yards away from setting the FBS all-time single-season record held by BJ Symons (5,833). Zappe can be had on Day Three of the NFL Draft and projects as a developmental quarterback with starter upside.

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