The Patriots turned some heads on Saturday when they used the 137th pick (fourth round) in the 2022 NFL Draft to take Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe. With the pick coming just a year after the first-round selection of Mac Jones, there were questions about an over-investment at the position.
However, this pick proved to be relatively in line with the Patriots’ historic trends at the quarterback position. Over the last 22 years under Bill Belichick the Patriots drafted 12 quarterbacks. That averages out to just over one every two years, despite it not being a position of need for the significant majority of that time. Even with that, six of the 10 quarterbacks taken between Tom Brady in 2000 and Jones in 2020 were taken in the top 150.
Speaking to the media after the draft, Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh was asked about that trend, which predates his involvement with the organization. In his answer, Groh highlighted the value of the quarterback position as a whole.
“At that quarterback position, yeah, one guy is only on the field, but you’d better have another good one or two or three or whoever it is in the system coming up, because you never know when those guys are going to be needed, and if you’re short at that position, you’re going to be in real trouble,” Groh noted. “Just like a college program that might bring in a highly recruited quarterback one year, you can’t really afford to skip a year. You’ve got to have plenty of talent there at that position, and we had an opportunity to add Bailey and tried to add some good value to the quarterback position.”
“There’s always value in having good players on your team, and Bailey is a good player and he’s going to add value to our team,” Groh said of the record-setting passer specifically. “It’s going to be up to him to kind of carve out what role that is here initially and then going forward.”
The Patriots now have built up significant depth at the quarterback position, with Zappe joining Jones, Brian Joyer, and Jarrett Stidham. Zappe and Stidham will likely compete for the backup job in camp. With Stidham entering a contract year, Zappe gives them a more long-term option behind Jones. The team also added former Miami quarterback D’Eriq King as a UDFA, although he is expected to be involved in a more multi-positional role.
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