Patriots Sign Prolific College QB

Getty Bailey Zappe

The New England Patriots have their third-string quarterback in the fold. The team announced the signing of Bailey Zappe, a rookie drafted in the fourth round in April.

After a record-setting career at Western Kentucky that saw Zappe throw for 5,967 yards, 62 TDs and just 11 interceptions in 2021. The yards and TD marks set FBS single-season records. Despite his prolific passing performance in 2021, Zappe wasn’t considered by most to be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL Draft.

Thus, he slipped to the fourth round where the Patriots snapped him up to play third string for the team in 2022.

Mac Jones is fully entrenched as the team’s starter barring an injury after a promising rookie season. Jones threw for 3,801 yards, 22 TDs and 13 interceptions in his first year in the NFL.

He finished second to Cincinnati Bengals WR J’Marr Chase for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jones made the Pro Bowl after leading the Patriots back to the playoffs following an absence in 2020. Thanks to more experience, a better supporting cast of weapons–at least on paper–and more confidence in the team’s offense, big things are expected from Jones.

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Brian Hoyer is coming back in 2022. He is expected to continue to function as mentor and resource for Jones. If there is in an injury or a blowout, expect to see Hoyer as the next man on the field under center.

The only way Zappe plays in the regular season is in the event of multiple injuries, or the Patriots find a way to slip him in for some late work.

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Who Will Lead the Patriots in Rushing in 2022?

We’ve talked a lot about the Patriots’ passing attack, but their offense figures to still depend heavily on a power run game. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson will likely see the bulk of the carries, unless there is an injury or a trade.

Harris could be moved if the Patriots look to save a few pennies while depending on the development of rookies Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr.

As it stands, Harris would have to be the frontrunner if we’re looking for the player most apt to lead the team in rushing. Harris has seen his rushing total rise each of the three years he’s been in the NFL. After seeing very few opportunities as a rookie when he totaled just 12 yards rushing on four carries, Harris took a big leap in year two with 691 yards and 2 TDs.

In 2021, Harris broke out even more as he rushed for 929 yards and a whopping 15 TDs. If he is still a Patriot throughout the season, expect to see him lead the team in rushing again.

Who Will Lead the Patriots in INTs in 2022?

J.C. Jackson is gone to the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England secondary is one of the team’s most uncertain groups. Who will replace Jackson as the team leader in picks?

The easy answer is Malcolm Butler. He is the man the Patriots signed to step in and cover the opposition’s top options, but considering he missed all of 2021 semi-retired, there are legitimate questions as to whether he can still be a No. 1 corner in the NFL.

Butler had great seasons in New England in 2015-16, but he didn’t look quite as effective in 2020 while playing for the Tennessee Titans when he had 4 interceptions in 16 games.

If Butler can be 75% of the guy who made second-team All-Pro in 2016, the Patriots should be pleased and he’ll likely lead the team in picks.

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