Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
If the Carolina Panthers don’t select a quarterback with their first-round pick and don’t strike a deal for Baker Mayfield, they may need to address the quarterback position in the later rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. Most projections have Bailey Zappe being selected around the middle of the fourth round, so Carolina could ostensibly pick a player at a premium position with #6 overall (offensive tackle or edge rusher) and grab a quarterback like Zappe on day three of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Bailey Zappe has an interesting story. He began his career at Houston Baptist, an FCS school, and starred in his junior season of 2019, throwing for 3,811 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. His senior season at Houston Baptist consisted of merely four games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he entered the transfer portal the following season.
Taking advantage of the graduate transfer rule, Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky, who had just hired his former offensive coordinator at Houston Baptist, Zach Kittley. From there, Bailey Zappe had one of the greatest statistical seasons of any quarterback in college football history. He threw for an eye-popping 5,967 yards, 62 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
He completed his passes at a 69.2% clip and averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt. Zappe set the FBS single season records for both passing yardage and passing touchdowns in 2021. His record-setting numbers, Texas background and average stature (6’0” 220) are reminiscent of Case Keenum, who’s thrown for 78 touchdowns and over 14,000 yards in his journeyman NFL career. The Carolina Panthers could do worse with a third day pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.