2022 NFL Draft

Patriots select Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe in fourth round of 2022 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots used a fourth-round pick on Mac Jones' backup.

The Patriots selected Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe with the No. 137 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Zappe transferred from Houston Baptist to Western Kentucky in 2021 and continued to light up the stat sheet. He set FBS records for pass yards with 5,967 and passing TD with 62 on 687 attempts in 2021.

At a shade over 6-feet, Zappe lacks size and has an average arm. But he throws a catchable ball and shows good vision and knowledge of where to go with the ball, which makes up for physical shortcomings. Despite not having the strongest arm, his ball placement downfield can create explosive plays. Zappe led the FBS in completions (51) and yards (1,805) on deep passes in 2021.

Zappe has a great football IQ, which will help the Patriots' QB room and give him a chance to develop into a reliable professional backup.

With New England needing to get younger and faster, particularly on defense, Bill Belichick using a fourth-round pick on a clear backup QB is interesting. The Pats are never shy at stockpiling the most critical position in football and figuring it out later -- a la Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett. Belichick makes a similar move with Zappe here.

Jones is the clear starter. Brian Hoyer is the veteran backup who helps in the film room. Zappe will be the developmental project who, in an ideal world, would grow into a backup and potential trade chip down the line.

Drafting Zappe likely spells the end of the line for 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. Stidham could be a cheap trade target for teams looking for a younger backup type or a cut candidate during training camp.

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