A transfer from Houston Baptist, Bailey Zappe set major records at the lower levels. Now, as the man in WKU, he’s continuing that trend. Zappe has remained ahead of everyone in the country in touchdown passes, leading an intense passing attack against the Conference USA. The impressive feat caps the underdog career of Zappe, who wasn’t recruited coming out of Victoria East. Zappe has great moxie and is a gritty player, all things that the NFL will really like.

In the recent Bruce Feldman article detailing the Senior Bowl roster process, Bailey was front and center in the conversation. It’s no surprise that he is the first quarterback to accept his invitation to the Senior Bowl. Jim Nagy, the Senior Bowl Director, said he had heard nothing but praise for the intelligence of Zappe. “They say he’s like genius-level football,” Nagy recalled. “So I anticipate the process being really good for him, once he gets with coaches. There are gonna be quarterback coaches wanting this guy in their room.”

Zappe best projects as a west-coast style quarterback who will mostly serve as a backup in the NFL, playing well when his team needs him to fill in for a two-to-three game stretch. He is a slightly undersized modern dropback quarterback with the mobility and improvability to move around in the pocket.

The Measurables

QB Bailey Zappe

QB – #4 Western Kentucky

HT: 6010
WT: 220
DOB: 4/26/1999

Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: Victoria East (Victoria, TX)
HS Rating: N/A
Phil Steele: N/A

Bailey Zappe Scouting Report

Has a very suitable arm to drive the ball into the intermediate to deeper levels of the field. Inconsistent with his touch ball. When he threw it, it was beautiful. Throws with very impressive anticipation. Excellent upper body mechanics. Very quick release. Has the ability to throw side-armed and uses his release flexibility to work the throw-around defenders. Fairly accurate. Oftentimes throws the ball behind the receiver on crossers. Struggles to maintain that accuracy against a blitz. Placement sometimes is a bit of an issue with Zappe. Puts the ball on the outside at times when he needs to throw it inside. Oftentimes gets it to his receiver but is just off and prevents his guy from scoring a touchdown. For the most part, Zappe properly drops and sets in the pocket. Pocket maneuverability is somewhat limited. Doesn’t react well to pressure.

Lazy footwork in the pocket that needs some refinement. Somewhat stone-footed while in his drop. Picks it up as he gets under pressure and starts to move. Has the ability to move the play out of the pocket and extend with his legs. Pass first mentality. Very limited downfield ability, but can pick up positive gains when he needs to and move the chains. Flashes some solid improvability to create off of broken plays. Wants to extend the play before he creates it.

Zappe has received nothing but praise for his football intelligence, described as a “genius-level” football guru. Will force the ball at times, especially when working outside of the pocket. Will try to force the ball back into the middle across his body. Uses his eyes well to manipulate zone coverage. Struggles to pick up on disguised coverages. Does otherwise read coverages well and understands what he needs to do to move defenders and open passing lanes.

What we want to see from Bailey Zappe in Mobile

  • Bailey Zappe’s arm strength will be a concern, but we want to see him show that he can do everything else with his arm talent. He’s flashed extraordinary throws at times with good placement and anticipation. His placement could be great, and most of the time it’s not. Zappe needs to show that he can throw consistently with touch, anticipation, and through pressure.
  • We want to see Zappe move better in the pocket, whether it be under pressure or just extending the play by getting outside of the pocket.
  • His footwork was very raw and unrefined. We’d like to see him clean that up a little bit.

Pre-Senior Bowl Projection

At this point, I think Zappe has shown all of the tools to be a more than capable backup quarterback in the NFL. Where teams will place him against the rest of the class is still relatively unknown. However, Zappe looks the part, if not better, than most of the quarterbacks who have been selected on day three from the past several years.

We have Zappe as a fourth/fifth-round projection before the Senior Bowl. He can sit for a year or two and learn the offense before transitioning into a valuable backup quarterback who should make some impact in the NFL at some point of his career.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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