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Why New England Patriots’ selection of QB Bailey Zappe is lauded by former NFL GM – NFL Nation

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Happy with Zappe: One of the extra compelling moments of ESPN’s broadcast on the third day of the 2022 NFL draft got here when the Patriots chosen Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe late within the fourth spherical (No. 137).

Host Rece Davis mentioned what many who comply with the Patriots might need been considering: Help me perceive this choose — particularly after choosing Mac Jones within the first around the yr earlier than, and with different notable wants, significantly on protection.

It sparked an insightful dialogue with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, which coated how it may be good enterprise to draft and develop quarterbacks.

That was on level to former NFL GM Randy Mueller, who served within the entrance places of work of the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, and was named NFL Executive of the Year in 2000 whereas with the Saints. He applauded the Zappe choose.

“I wasn’t surprised. At that point in the draft, you’re trying to identify traits with players that maybe not everybody sees. And I think Bill [Belichick] and his crew have done as good a job at that as any, across the board at all positions,” Mueller mentioned.

“I see a lot of positives in Bailey Zappe. When you get to the third day of the draft, I think it’s too much to turn your back on, regardless of position. Everybody seems to want to fill needs throughout [the draft], but I’m more about getting the best group of players and not bypassing good players to fill needs. And I think Bailey was one of those guys, although I don’t think everyone sees that.”

Mueller, who now runs Mueller Football Advising Services, studied all quarterbacks within the draft. While the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Zappe was the fifth chosen, Mueller rated him No. 2 behind solely first-spherical choose Kenny Pickett (No. 20 to the Steelers).

“Everyone’s criteria is always a little different, but what I saw is a guy who sees, anticipates and processes, all from the pocket, combined with some accuracy and the ability to make all the throws because he has plenty of arm,” Mueller mentioned.

“I’m not looking for 6-foot tall quarterbacks, per se, but he plays a lot bigger than that. The fact he has the vision and anticipation from the pocket; I’m not saying he’s Drew Brees or Russell Wilson or anything, but … he trends more in that line just because of that anticipatory skill set.”

Zappe’s manufacturing was off the charts in 2021, when he accomplished 475 of 686 (69.2%) passes for five,967 yards, with 61 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He had transferred to Western Kentucky from Houston Baptist, following his offensive coordinator, Zach Kittley.

Mueller famous the system Zappe ran, coupled together with his manufacturing and talent set, in score him so extremely.

“The other guys, for me, there’s a leap of faith in the ability to process, to anticipate, to throw on time and to still be athletic enough to move within the pocket,” he mentioned.

“I think he’s a natural, throws with the right trajectory, with touch. A lot of second- and third-level things he does, I’ve seen pro quarterbacks after four, five years still not be able to do. So I think he’s further along the learning curve than most give him credit for.”

2. Mueller’s reminiscence: When Mueller spent 2002 to 2005 working as an analyst for ESPN, he visited Patriots apply — the primary time he had attended a coaching camp apart from with a membership for which he labored. One factor he noticed that day resonated.

“I remember watching Tom Brady, this was in Year 3 or 4 of his career, and his attention to detail with his footwork within the pocket. The fact he was still working on that stuff stuck with me forever,” Mueller mentioned, including that it altered his view when evaluating the place.

“I think that’s one of the things Tom doesn’t get enough credit for — the [movement] within the pocket — with footwork and everything else. I also saw some of that with Bailey [Zappe].”

3. Early riser: Patriots assistant Joe Judge, who is working with the quarterbacks, mentioned Zappe was on the staff facility very early Tuesday morning “trying to get ahead.” Such diligence is typically one of the best ways to make a stable first impression on coaches. It additionally might need been vital, as Zappe, receiver Tyquan Thornton and operating again Pierre Strong Jr. left city later within the week to attend the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in California, the annual occasion that introduces high marketable rookies to sponsors.

4. Kraft’s be aware: Who knew? When Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft obtained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sports Business Journal on Wednesday night time, Eli Manning informed the gang how he obtained a handwritten congratulatory be aware from Kraft about 5 days after Manning’s Giants shocked the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. “The impact of a handwritten note has left an impression on me after all these years,” Manning mentioned.

5. Vince’s honor: The date for Vince Wilfork’s Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony is TBD, however it could be becoming if he have been honored at halftime of the house opener Sept. 25 in opposition to the Ravens. That’s as a result of Wilfork mentioned if there is one recreation that stands out in his profession, it is the 23-20 win in opposition to Baltimore within the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 22, 2012, when he rose up within the fourth quarter to make two clutch plays on defense — ripping down operating again Ray Rice on a 3rd-and-3 run after which harassing quarterback Joe Flacco on a fourth-down cease.

6. Perkins’ prep: The Patriots have a notable void at outdoors linebacker reverse Matthew Judon, and 2021 third-spherical choose Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma) is one candidate to fill it. Perkins did not seem in a daily-season recreation as a rookie, partly as a result of he was buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and others. Outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick mentioned Perkins has stayed in Foxborough all through the offseason to place himself in one of the best place to “take a step forward.”

“All that really matters at the end of the day is what happens when we put the pads on,” Belichick mentioned. “But he’s done everything right to this point.”

7. Wade’s recent begin: The Patriots traded fifth- and seventh-spherical picks to amass rookie cornerback Shaun Wade from the Ravens final September, however he appeared in solely three video games as a reserve as a result of of a mix of acclimating to a brand new system and accidents. Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino mentioned it is a “fresh start” for the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Wade, who is “a longer guy with good quickness.” Pellegrino additionally famous that Wade has improved this offseason after concentrating on a pair of undisclosed teaching factors.

The Patriots have a large-open competitors at cornerback that additionally consists of Jalen Mills, Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones and Terrance Mitchell, and Pellegrino repeated a number of occasions the “best guys will play.”

Where Wade suits — just like Perkins at outdoors linebacker — is one of a number of underneath-the-radar offseason storylines for New England.

8. Fins up: Why are the Patriots opening the season with the Dolphins for the third straight yr? Partly as a result of Miami requested to be on the highway in Week 2 as a result of of a Lady Gaga live performance at Hard Rock Stadium that week. So that elevated the chances they might be at residence opening week, narrowing their opponent choices to seven groups (Buffalo was already locked into dealing with the Rams). The Patriots have been the choose when balancing different issues, however do not anticipate a Patriots-Dolphins Sunday opener in 2023. “I assure you we’ll keep an eye on New England-Miami in Week 1 next year,” mentioned NFL VP of Broadcasting Mike North.

9. Walsh’s legacy: Ross Douglas joined the Patriots in 2021 with the official title of NFL teaching fellowship/protection, and he is flipped to work with receivers alongside Troy Brown this spring. The Avon, Ohio, native credit New England director of talent growth Joe Kim for serving to him get his foot within the door, as Douglas first met Kim when he took his taekwondo class as a 5-yr-outdated. He additionally credit the late Bill Walsh, as a result of Douglas’ place was made doable by means of his diversity fellowship program.

“It means absolutely everything to me,” Douglas mentioned. “A lot of good college football coaches and a lot of talented minorities, it’s hard to get into NFL buildings — whether it’s because of lack of resources, lack of connections. So that’s our gateway.”

10. Did ? There have been 4 NFL groups that performed their first two common-season video games on the highway final season, which is how the Patriots will open their 2022 season (at Miami and Pittsburgh). The 49ers and Broncos received each video games, the Cowboys break up, and the Vikings misplaced each.

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