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With Mac Jones out for the next few weeks, attention turns to the backup quarterbacks for the New England Patriots. In Week 4 vs. the Green Bay Packers, 36-year-old Brian Hoyer gets the start. If that doesn’t work — and with an 0-11 record in his last 11 starts, it likely won’t — rookie QB Bailey Zappe could get the nod from Bill Belichick. So, who is Patriots rookie QB Bailey Zappe?

Who is Patriots rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe?

Bailey Zappe of the New England Patriots.
Bailey Zappe | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The 2022 NFL Draft wasn’t a banner year for quarterbacks. There were nine signal-callers selected, and at pick No. 137 in the fourth round, Bill Belichick and the Patriots took Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe.

This was a somewhat controversial — but very Belichickian — pick, as North Carolina’s Sam Howell, a higher-rated prospect, was still available at that slot.

Zappe is a Texas native who wasn’t a big-time college prospect at Victoria East high school. At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, the QB wasn’t heavily recruited and initially ended up at the FCS school Houston Baptist.

After four years under center, Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky for his last season of eligibility. As a Hilltopper, Zappe had an incredible senior season, throwing for over 5,000 yards and 60-plus touchdowns. With these numbers, he became a legitimate NFL prospect. His year-by-year production looked like this:

Houston Baptist20171015056.41,548510
Houston Baptist20181025257.82,8122313
Houston Baptist20191235763.83,8113515
Houston Baptist2020414165.61,833151
Western Kentucky20211247569.25,9676211

The rookie quarterback is on big hit or bad interception from starting for the Patriots


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Bailey Zappe made the New England Patriots roster out of training camp as the third-string QB. Last year’s first-round pick, Mac Jones, went down with a severe high ankle sprain in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, so Zappe became the backup quarterback for Week 4.

Veteran Brian Hoyer is now the starter. But if Jones misses significant time, that’s not a great long-term option. Hoyer’s started 39 games in his 13-year career and has a 16-23 record and a completion rate of 59.3%.

Zappe was OK in the 2022 preseason. In three games, the young QB went 45-of-71 (63.5%) with 462 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.

That’s not QB1 numbers by any means, but at least Zappe could have some long-term potential. Because one thing Patriots fans know right now is that Hoyer doesn’t.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots say Mac Jones is day-to-day, but high ankle sprains usually take anywhere from four to eight weeks to heal. If Jones is out for a month or more, there’s a good chance we’ll see Bailey Zappe under center for New England at some point in 2022.

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