Bailey Zappe's college coach reveals new Patriots QB's aggressive mindset

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Bailey Zappe wants to compete for Mac Jones' job, college coach says originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

You need a lot of confidence to be an NFL quarterback -- even if that confidence might be irrational.

The New England Patriots raised a few eyebrows Saturday by selecting Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe in the fourth round (No. 137 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. New England has its franchise quarterback in Mac Jones, so Zappe likely was brought in to compete with 37-year-old Brian Hoyer and 25-year-old Jarrett Stidham for the top backup job.

According to Zappe's college coach, however, the 23-year-old will show up in Foxboro with a more aggressive mindset.

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"(Zappe) is definitely every single day trying to take another man’s job -- no matter who that guy is in front of him," Western Kentucky head coach Tyson Helton told Patriots Wire's Henry McKenna. "I think it’s awesome that he has an opportunity to say: ‘OK, here’s an established starter in Mac Jones, who’s a very, very good player.’

"I admire him as well. I think he’ll play for a long time and be very successful. But I think you’ve got two great men at the helm that can make each other better every single day and compete every single day."

Helton's confidence in his former QB makes sense: Zappe set single-season FBS records in passing yards (5,967) and touchdown passes (62) during an incredible 2021 campaign for the Hilltoppers.

Granted, Zappe lit up inferior opponents in a non-Power 5 conference and will be in for quite the adjustment when he faces NFL talent during the Patriots' offseason program. But Helton believes Zappe will rise to the occasion and put a little heat on Jones in the process.

"Competition brings out the best in everybody," Helton said. "I think they’ll be great for each other and it’ll be great for Bailey to not have that pressure out of the game where he needs to be a starter. ... There’s no question in my mind that from Day 1, he’s going to push whoever is in front of him."

With Stidham entering the final year of his contract, Zappe has the opportunity to become the No. 2 quarterback in New England if he pans out. That's probably his ceiling with Jones entrenched as the quarterback of the future, and it's also possible Zappe follows in Stidham's footsteps as a fourth-round QB who never quite latches on.

It appears Zappe isn't lacking in self-belief, though.