The Dallas Cowboys are doing their due diligence on adding some competition to the quarterback room behind Dak Prescott. The Cowboys interviewed record-setting Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe during the NFL Combine.
“I met with them [Cowboys], informal meetings, but it was awesome to be able to just answer questions,” Zappe explained during his March 2 press conference. “Get to build relationships, get to meet some of those coaches, get to meet some of the scouts. It was a fun moment.”
Zappe broke the FBS records with both 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns during the 2021 season. The previous records were 5,845 yards and 61 touchdowns, per ESPN.
It is important to note that every NFL team will meet with a variety of prospects during the pre-draft process, most of which will not end up with the franchise. That said, Zappe’s interview at least shows the Cowboys are kicking the tires on adding depth behind Prescott.
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Zappe Has Been Compared to Minshew
Zappe is not being mentioned with the likes of Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and the other top quarterbacks who are battling to be selected in the first round. This also means the Cowboys could snag Zappe potentially with a day-three pick in the upcoming draft.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman wrote a fascinating feature on November 11, 2021 where he was able to sit inside the Senior Bowl’s scouting session discussing upcoming draft prospects. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy sees some similarities between Zappe and Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew.
“I see the Minshew comp too,” Nagy admitted. “Not only the player — he is — but also the senior year, coming out of nowhere, too.”
Senior Bowl scout Andy Dengler, who previously worked in the Jaguars personnel department, believes Zappe can be an “effective backup in the league.”
“He’s not as mobile as Gardner Minshew, and he’s a little bit shorter,” Dengler noted. “My biggest problem with him, is for having an above-average arm, at times he throws kind of an inaccurate ball on timing and anticipation. I do like his savvy. He can move the chains. I saw him as a backup. I don’t know if he’s got a strong enough arm to be a starter but I think he’d be an effective backup in the league.”
Prescott Had Offseason Shoulder Surgery
The comparison may not be draw-dropping, but the Cowboys could do a lot worse than having Minshew holding the clipboard behind Prescott. Cooper Rush won the backup job last season, and the Cowboys relied on him as Prescott dealt with multiple injuries throughout 2021. Rush helped lead the Cowboys to victory against the Vikings during an October 31 primetime matchup when Prescott was sidelined with a calf injury.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed during the combine that Prescott recently underwent shoulder surgery. The Cowboys do not expect Prescott to miss any offseason workouts, but it is hard to ignore the fact that the quarterback has now dealt with multiple ankle surgeries, a shoulder procedure and an injured calf since the 2020 season. Whether it is Zappe or another player, the Cowboys would be wise to invest in the quarterback position this offseason to provide firm insurance behind Prescott.