[Fiches draft] Bailey Zappe (QB), Texan gunner

Bailey Zappe – Quarterback – 22 – Senior Redshirt – Western Kentucky

Cut : 1m85

Weight : 100Kg

Estimated draft position: 4e – 5e round

Stats 2021: 14 games, 475/686 (69.2% completions), 5967 yards, 62 touchdowns, 11 interceptions + 51 receptions, 17 yards, 3 touchdowns

NFL Comparison: Case Keenum

Strong points

– Accuracy on short and intermediate casts
– Intelligence
– Apprehension of the pocket
– Footwork

The Western Kentucky quarterback is a great leader on and off the court who plays with a lot of passion. He is very strong mentally and can hold his own despite the pain. Bailey Zappe understands the game extremely well and it shows in the way he works on his readings. Pre-snap, he has the intelligence to make the necessary adjustments on the line of engagement if something does not please him in the opposing defense. Once the action starts, it is able to scan the entire field before finding the open player on any play.

Mechanically, it remains very calm and balanced in its movement. Overall, he shows very good ball placement, especially in the middle of the field. Zappe can put on velocity and place the ball in tight windows on short to intermediate throws. During the Senior Bowl, his throw was clocked at 74.4 mph (119.74 km/h), the 2e fastest behind Malik Willis (75.7 mph, 121.83 km/h). He also shows precise touch on his deep passes to drop the ball into the sweet spot. Finally, the video shows many early throws, where he does not wait for his target to make the difference to let go of the leather. A few important seconds that allow the receiver to adjust their grip in perfect timing.

He also has good pocket awareness and feels the pressure coming. His very good footwork allows him to get out of complicated situations. It remains light on its supports and fluid in its movements. He can re-attack space to make his throws when he feels defenders closing in around him, or weave through traffic when necessary.

Weak points

– Arm strength
– Athletic ability
– Cut

Zappe doesn’t have the biggest arm, which shows in his throws from the edge of the field and beyond about 25 yards. His passes lack the required velocity and the ball tends to float, leading to several interceptions in 2021. A problem to be ironed out as he will need to be able to consistently do this type of laser throwing at the top level.

With the NFL trend of favoring more athletic quarterbacks, Zappe doesn’t fit that mold. More mobile than fast, he has a good ability to change direction to avoid contact, but does not always have the legs to prolong games when the pocket carries around him. He has had his fair share of penalties for intentional throws on the ground or to the sidelines, which will also need to be addressed to limit these types of bad decisions. He’s able to get a first down or a few extra yards if needed, but nothing out of the ordinary. He remains a pure passer who exploits his full potential when he is warm in his pocket.

Its size also remains a problem. The NFL prefers tall quarterbacks to see beyond the line of scrimmage, where the sizes are getting bigger and bigger. With his 185 centimeters, he is one of the smallest of the vintage, which may put off some teams.

The stats

5,967 yards, 62 touchdowns in 2021

With such numbers, he entered the NCAA record books. Bailey Zappe is now the most prolific quarterback in yards gained through the air and touchdowns thrown in a season. He was one of the most impressive passers in the country, shattering every defender in front of him.

Possible destinations

Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bailey Zappe has good ball precision at all levels of the field, moves well in his pocket and knows how to manage his attack. His lack of pure physical talent can end up playing tricks on him and bringing him down in the eyes of some recruiters. He doesn’t have the strongest arm and remains a below average athlete. For these reasons, he’s likely a 3rd day pick with development potential, but has the qualities to be a solid replacement.

The Titans aren’t necessarily looking for a quarterback for the future, but that shouldn’t preclude looking ahead. Ryan Tannehill is under contract for two more seasons and will be 36 when his contract ends. Zapping could be the long-term answer after learning behind the veteran. In Pittsburgh and Atlanta, the (very) short-term answer is Mitch Trubisky and Marcus Mariota, respectively. These teams have other needs and could be tempted by the profile of the young man on the last day of the draft in order to assess whether he can be a viable solution for the future. Among the Cowboys, Dak Prescott is the indisputable holder but behind the fight rages between interchangeable quarterbacks (Cooper Rush, Will Grier and Ben DiNucci). Zappe has the ability to embed himself in the discussion and become a more than descent lining.

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