Electric, Shocking, Zappe
By: Skyler Meikrantz
NCAA has a new passing king after the 2021 season, Bailey Zappe. Zappe is WKU’s 6’1” 220lbs quarterback entering the 2022 NFL Draft, who had an absolute monster, electric year. WKU ran an air-raid system that Zappe did more than thrive in, but what’s shocking is how little attention he’s getting after accomplishing his insane feat.
Joe Burrow had previously owned these records, not very long thanks to Zappe, and had skyrocketed himself from a projected 6th/7th round pick to number one overall. Zappe hasn’t seen such a meteoric rise but should definitely be on everyone’s big board somewhere; he’s smart, accurate, shows he can make elite throws, and works well from the pocket.
Akin to the previous record-holder (Burrow), Zappe is a very smart QB. Zappe shows a good understanding of defenses just picking apart zones and finding empty spaces left by blitzing defenders. Much like his ability to diagnose defenses, pre-snap and during the play, he recognizes mismatches and isn’t afraid to push the ball downfield; his favorite routes to throw are go’s and corner routes.
On these go’s and corners, Zappe really flashes his accuracy, putting the ball where only his receiver can get it. His accuracy does drop as he doesn’t always get a good base and footing when he’s loading up and his very average arm strength does limit his deep ball capability. While Zappe may not be able to flick the ball sixty yards he can still put some mustard on it, squeezing the ball into tight windows and hitting timing routes decently.
Zappe has looked great this year and put a lot of good stuff on film, but he does have things that are going to hurt his draft value. The level of competition he faced isn’t exactly the highest and there were definitely times when the team around him could just out athlete the opponents. He did play against a really good Michigan St. team and exceeded expectations in my eyes. Throwing from a solid base and getting his feet underneath him is something that needs work, and while he is pretty accurate he’s not really accurate, but he does have a real quick release.
Zappe may have smashed Burrow’s records and zapped his competition this season, but I don’t believe he’s the next Burrow, but whoever does draft him is going to get an absolute steal and get themselves a quarterback who is determined to keep working, improving, and be better every day as he’s looking to become like one of his idols, Drew Brees.