New England Patriots draft WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe in fourth round

Only one college team offered Bailey Zappe a scholarship out of high school. He’ll be on an NFL roster this fall.

The New England Patriots selected Zappe in the fourth round with the 137th overall pick of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Zappe became the third quarterback drafted out of Western Kentucky University over the last seven drafts, following Brandon Doughty (picked in the seventh round by Miami in 2016) and Mike White (taken in the fifth round by Dallas in 2018). He was the second player from WKU taken in this year’s draft, joining defensive end DeAngelo Malone.

An unranked recruit out of Victoria, Texas, Zappe signed with Houston Baptist University, an FCS school and the only program that offered him a scholarship. WKU following the 2020 season hired Houston Baptist offensive coordinator Zach Kittley to the same position, and Zappe was among several players who followed Kittley to Bowling Green. In his only season with the Hilltoppers, Zappe threw for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns, both single-season NCAA records.

Zappe has been slighted for his size — he’s a half-inch away from standing 6-foot-1 and weighs 215 pounds — and arm strength, but is well-regarded for his timing, release and accuracy. He completed about 70 percent of his passes threw only 11 interceptions in 686 pass attempts last season for WKU.

“I can’t speak more highly about him,” Kittley said in a Bleacher Report profile of Zappe. “He’s a stud, and whoever takes him is going to get a steal in the draft. I don’t take it lightly putting Bailey in a sentence with this player. But he’s going to be your Drew Brees-type player.”

Zappe was the fifth quarterback drafted after Kenny Pickett (20th to the Pittsburgh Steelers), Desmond Ridder (74th to the Atlanta Falcons), Malik Willis (86th to the Tennessee Titans) and Matt Corral (94th to the Carolina Panthers).

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