Bailey Zappe Draft Profile

Scouting Report

Bailey Zappe is an extremely intriguing quarterback prospect; he isn’t your typical air-raid quarterback. In the air-raid system you think of guys like Patrick Mahomes; a project quarterback with a cannon for an arm. That isn’t the case with Zappe; while he is very accurate passing the ball downfield, he lacks arm strength. He is an accurate deep passer who doesn’t have a strong arm; it is kind of ironic. In his senior season at Western Kentucky, Zappe threw for 61 touchdowns which broke Joe Burrow’s record for most touchdown passes in a single season. Burrow went first overall because he was shattering records and had no limitations; Zappe will most likely be a late-day-three pick because of his limitations.

 

The first thing that stands out when watching Bailey Zappe play is his accuracy downfield. If he has a clean pocket, Zappe is capable of making throws 30+ yards downfield right in the bucket. Part of the air-raid system has to do with the willingness to take risks; a lot of those risks paid off for Zappe having thrown 61 touchdowns last season. Despite being a shorter quarterback with subpar arm strength, Zappe has a little bit of that gunslinger mentality. When it comes to a gunslinger mentality, the risk factor is only 50% of the equation. The other part of it is the ability to make plays with your legs in the pocket. Zappe is very mobile in the pocket and does a nice job at redirecting traffic downfield. He extends plays with his legs and does a nice job at buying time for his receivers to get open. In college it is rare to see quarterbacks with eye discipline; Zappe doesn’t get stuck on his first read and scans the field like he is reading a book. He can make touch throws over cornerbacks and under safeties. Overall, Zappe is an unusual prospect who could have very different career trajectories based on where he is drafted.

 

It is important to address the elephant in the room when dissecting Bailey Zappe; he has a weak arm for an NFL quarterback. While he has shown that he is capable of dropping deep passes perfectly in the bucket, he also leaves the ball short a few times every game. While I think it is very unlikely that Zappe can get a “stronger arm”, I do believe he can improve his mechanics. Zappe’s throwing motion is very inconsistent and his delivery is different for every throw. If he is able to generate more torque in his hips and find consistency with his arm angles, Zappe will be able to put more zip on the ball. At Western Kentucky, Zappe mostly played against terrible defenses that gave up wide open touchdowns. The level of competition isn’t on the same level as most of the other quarterbacks in this year’s draft. A lot of his numbers can be attributed to soft defenses that couldn’t tackle or couldn’t guard receivers. In a league that is ruled by quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Mahomes, and Josh Allen; it is hard to be a first round pick if you can’t throw it like those guys.

 

I haven’t evaluated a quarterback like Zappe in my time of scouting. The only quarterback who put up these type of numbers in college with a subpar arm is Case Keenum. While Keenum has had his moments in the NFL, I wouldn’t draft a quarterback with his career trajectory until day three. I believe that Zappe can be a rotational quarterback at the next level who comes in for injury. Under a coach like Doug Pederson, Andy Reid, or Kevin Stefanski, Zappe will really learn the ins and outs of the position. Zappe is a really unconventional prospect that I see being drafted on day three.

Bailey Zappe
Bailey Zappe
Bailey Zappe
Film Study

Accuracy 7/10

Arm Strength + Deep Ball 7/10

Pocket poise 7/8

Mobility 7/10

Improvisational Skills 3.75/5

Decision Making + IQ 7/10

Against the Blitz 5/8

Throw on the Run 2.75/5

Awareness 3.5/5

Overall: 50/69

Final Rating: 72

 

Pro Comparison: Case Keenum

Team Fits: Jaguars, Chiefs, Browns

Draft Grade: 5th Round Pick

Draft Projection: Rounds 5-7

Case Keenum.jpg