Patriots make surprising NFL draft pick by taking record-setting QB Bailey Zappe in fourth round

Mark Daniels
The Providence Journal

In what was another surprising pick by Bill Belichick, the Patriots added another quarterback in the NFL draft.

On Friday, the team selected Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round with the No. 137 overall pick. Last season, Zappe set Football Bowl Subdivision records by throwing for 5,967  yards and 62 touchdowns.

“I’m actually here at home in Victoria, Texas, where I’ve been born and raised. I was hanging out with family when I got the call,” Zappe said. “Just hearing about it, seeing it on TV was surreal. It’s a dream come true for me throughout this whole process. I’m really excited to get up there and get to work.”

The 6-0, 215-pound Zappe spent his first four seasons at Houston Baptist before transferring to Western Kentucky. 

This marks the second consecutive year that the Patriots drafted a quarterback after selecting Mac Jones in the first round in 2021. Zappe becomes the fourth quarterback on the roster and will battle with Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham for the top backup role on the Patriots.

Said Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh on picking a quarterback only one year after taking Jones with the No. 15 overall selection: "You can't really afford to skip a year. You've got to have plenty of talent there at that position."

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Bailey Zappe #4 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers celebrates after throwing a five-yard touchdown pass to Joey Beljan #89 (not pictured) against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first half of the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Boca Raton, Florida.

With Jones entrenched as the starter, Zappe's selection provides depth at the most important position on the Patriots’ roster. Hoyer turns 37 years old this season, while Stidham is entering the final year of his contract. By adding Zappe, it’s more than likely that Stidham’s days in New England are numbered.

“(Jones is) a phenomenal quarterback, a great QB – as the rest of the QBs (are) in that room,” Zappe said. "I’m looking forward to learning from all three of those guys, getting up there to meet them and do as much as I can to help the team. I’m really excited for this opportunity.”