2022 Prospect Rollout: Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe

After a record-breaking season leading Western Kentucky, what does Bailey Zappe look like as an NFL draft prospect?


While at Western Kentucky, Bailey Zappe reaped the benefits of their air-raid passing attack. So much so that he set the FBS record for passing yards and touchdowns in a season with 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns. He also kept the ball out of harm’s way as he had just eleven interceptions. Zappe will also be attending the 2022 Senior Bowl, where he will have a chance to put his talents on display against his peers. While there, his biggest questions will come in the form of measurements, as he is listed on the smaller side at just over six feet tall.


The first thing that is clear about Zappe is his throwing motion. It is easily repeatable and allows him to get the ball out quickly and on time. With this throwing motion, he is able to generate good velocity on his throws to the short and intermediate levels of the field. As mentioned, he also does a great job of keeping the ball out of harm’s way, often looking for an easy completion and allowing his receivers to do the work. His counting stats likely would’ve been much higher if his receivers had not dropped so many passes as well. He displays good touch on his deep ball as well, but whether that is by design or due to a lack of arm strength is entirely debatable.


As alluded to, Zappe does not have a huge arm by any means. Topping out at about 50 yards, he does not have the ability to stretch the field like his peers. Most notably, when he tries to make plays out of structure, the ball tends to hang on him. These are likely interceptions in the NFL. In addition to his struggles out of the pocket, his accuracy and ball placement are very sporadic on the run. His lower body mechanics do not help matters either, as he tends to stand flat-footed in the pocket, causing him to make throws using only his arm. His size will also be a hindrance in the NFL. Similar to Baker Mayfield, Zappe will likely have to be moved outside the pocket to create throwing lanes in the NFL. His struggles on the move complicate things in this regard, however.


Simply, Zappe is a fine player at the college level. Leading an offense at Western Kentucky is perfect for a guy like him with a limited skill set, as they are able to manufacture plays for him and hide his deficiencies. In the NFL, however, he just doesn’t have the top-tier arm talent to lead an NFL offense. Defensive coordinators aren’t going to lose sleep over trying to defend Zappe. While a strong Senior Bowl showing could move him up a few spots in the NFL draft come April, I currently have him as a late day three selection/UDFA. His best fits would likely come in a place like Minnesota or Cleveland, where they do a good job of getting their quarterback outside of the picket on a regular basis.

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*Top Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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