Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Happy with Zappe: One of the more compelling moments of ESPN's broadcast on the third day of the 2022 NFL draft came when the Patriots selected Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe late in the fourth round (No. 137).

Host Rece Davis said what many who follow the Patriots might have been thinking: Help me understand this pick -- especially after selecting Mac Jones in the first round the year before, and with other notable needs, particularly on defense.

It sparked an insightful discussion with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, which covered how it can be good business to draft and develop quarterbacks.

That was on point to former NFL GM Randy Mueller, who served in the front offices of the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, and was named NFL Executive of the Year in 2000 while with the Saints. He applauded the Zappe pick.

"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 said.

"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 in the draft. While the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Zappe was the fifth selected, Mueller rated him No. 2 behind only first-round pick 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 said.

"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 production was off the charts in 2021, when he completed 475 of 686 (69.2%) passes for 5,967 yards, with 61 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He had transferred to Western Kentucky from Houston Baptist, following his offensive coordinator, Zach Kittley.