Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (2024)

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By Jared Smola | Updated on Wed, 01 May 2024 . 10:43 AM EDT

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (2)

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Jonathon Brooks Draft Profile

Jonathon Brooks Combine Results

Jonathon Brooks Highlights

Jonathon Brooks spent just one season as Texas' lead back -- and that season ended after 10 games with a torn ACL.

But that didn't stop the Panthers from making him the first RB off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Let's dig into Brooks' profile and find out exactly what makes him such an exciting dynasty asset in Carolina.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Values

Dynasty 1-qb Dynasty Superflex
Non-PPR 49.3 Non-PPR 30.2
PPR 43.8 PPR 30.0
TE Premium 43.5 TE Premium 30.6

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Jonathon Brooks Draft Profile

Position:RB
Height: 6'0
Weight: 216
BMI:
29.3
Draft Age: 20.7
NFL Draft Pick:Round 2, Pick 14

Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.91
Analytics Score: 0.59
Film Score: 0.58
Production Score: 0.60

Jonathon Brooks Combine Results

Wingspan Arm Length HAnd Size 40-yard Dash 10-yard split
75.9" 31.5" 9.25" DNP DNP
Bench Press Vertical Broad Jump 3-cone drill 20-yard shuttle
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

Brooks did not test at the Combine as he continues to recover from last November's ACL tear.

Percentiles vs Combine RBs since 1999, per MockDraftable

Jonathon Brooks College Stats

games carries rush yds rush tds targets catches rec yds rec tds
2021 4 21 143 1 1 1 12 0
2022 7 30 197 5 2 2 37 1
2023 11 187 1139 10 29 25 286 1

Dominant High School Career

Brooks dominated as a senior at Hallettsville High School in Texas, racking up an absurd 3,530 yards and 62 TDs on 295 carries (12.0 YPC).

He was a four-star recruit and top-20 RB in the 2021 recruiting class, according to most scouting services.

Brooks ultimately opted to stay in-state at Texas.

Biding His Time at Texas

Brooks struggled to find playing time during his first two years on campus. But we can’t hold that against him. He was in a backfield with a pair of future NFLers in Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson.

Brooks popped when he did get the rock, though, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and scoring on 11.8% of his attempts across 2021 and 2022.

Patience Pays Off

With Robinson and Johnson off to the NFL, Brooks got his crack at lead duties last year and capitalized in a big way.

RB C.J. Baxter actually opened the season as Texas’ starter, but Brooks quickly passed him. Brooks easily led the Longhorns with 113.9 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing TDs per game on 6.1 yards per carry.

Brooks accounted for 49.0% of Texas’ carries and 62.1% of the rushing yards in his 10 games. He ran for at least 98 yards in each of his final eight games, including outings of 164 and 218 yards.

Efficient Running

Brooks ran behind a solid offensive line that ranked 54th among 133 schools in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grades. But he did a lot of damage on his own. Among 157 RBs with 100+ carries, Brooks ranked:

  • 21st in yards after contact per attempt
  • 12th in missed tackles forced per attempt
  • 9th in PFF's elusive rating
  • 12th in PFF rushing grade

Effective Receiving

Brooks was also an asset in the passing game last year. He averaged 2.9 targets per game on a 9.1% target share across his 10 outings.

Brooks hauled in 86.2% of those targets and averaged a big 11.4 yards per catch. His 13.3 yards after catch per reception ranked seventh among 112 RBs with 20+ targets.

Brooks ranked 21st among those 112 RBs in yards per route (1.50) and 12th in PFF receiving grade.

ACL Tear

Brooks’ breakout junior season ended with a torn right ACL on November 11. His surgery was, interestingly, performed by the Cowboys’ team doctor.

Brooks didn’t do any pre-draft testing or workouts but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Durability Concerns?

It’s also worth noting that Brooks dealt with injuries during his sophom*ore campaign and needed bilateral hernia surgery after that season, according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. Brooks was sidelined for most of 2023 spring practices.

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Jonathon Brooks Highlights

Games watched: Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma, Houston, TCU

Big-Time Burst

Brooks’ most impressive trait is his initial burst and acceleration.

It’s most obvious on his long runs. On this TD, Brooks uses a quick stutter-step in the backfield to give the hole time to develop. Then he’s at top speed by the time he gets to the line of scrimmage, giving the second-level defenders no chance to catch him.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (5)

Here’s another example of Brooks showing patience – and then hitting the gas for a nice gain against Houston.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (6)

Here’s a more subtle example of Brooks’ burst. A lesser back would have been tackled by No. 96 for a loss. But Brooks beats his angle and picks up 4 yards against Alabama.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (7)

Brooks’ acceleration is also a weapon at the second level. On this TD, he changes direction nearly 45 degrees to hit a cutback lane and then immediately gets to top speed, beating the safety’s angle to get into the end zone.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (8)

Sneaky Elusive

You won’t see many highlights of Brooks breaking defenders’ ankles. But watch closely and you’ll see him leaving plenty of defenders grasping at air. He’s sneaky elusive, using subtle shifts to evade would-be tacklers.

The Kansas safety reads this run nicely, meeting Brooks about a yard past the line of scrimmage. But Brooks contorts his body to slide around him and pick up the first down.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (9)

Here’s Brooks again using bend and balance to make a defender miss, turning a 6-yard gain into a 15-yard gain.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (10)

Plus Vision

Brooks displays good vision, especially for a runner with relatively limited experience.

On this run, Brooks has the vision (and agility) to hit a cutback lane for a big gain.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (11)

Fast Enough

Long speed certainly isn’t an issue for Brooks, but I wouldn’t consider it a strength either. He was fast enough to break that long TD we saw earlier. But he also gets caught from behind on this run:

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (12)

To be fair, that is a 170-pound CB (Cobee Bryant), who earned first-team All-Big 12 honors each of the past two seasons.

I’d guess that Brooks would have posted a 40 time in the mid-4.4-second range had he been able to run at the Combine. He's not a burner, but he's fast enough to break big plays at the next level.

Pass-Catching Upside

The most exciting aspect of Brooks’ NFL projection might be his skill in the passing game.

He’s a natural hands-catcher with the ability to make grabs outside of his frame -- like this one-handed snag in the flat against Oklahoma.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (13)

And he quickly transitions from pass-catcher to run-after-catch weapon. That allows him to take advantage of the aforementioned vision and acceleration, as in this nice gain vs. Kansas.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (14)

Brooks was a good college receiver, but I think there's even more to unlock as a pass-catcher in the NFL.

What Are Brooks’ Weaknesses?

There are no glaring holes in Brooks’ game.

Some film grinders knock him for indecision and dancing behind the line of scrimmage, but I didn’t see that in the five games I watched.

Brooks is slightly underwhelming in the power department. He does a nice job falling forward on most of his runs, but he doesn’t break many tackles with pure power. That especially shows up in short-yardage and goal-line situations, where Brooks often fails to get more than what’s blocked.

This is a tough run, but I'd love to see Brooks break the final tackle and pick up the first down.

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (15)

Jonathon Brooks Team Fit: Carolina Panthers

It's not quite Dallas, but Carolina is a strong landing spot for Brooks.

There are questions about the overall offense after an ugly rookie season from QB Bryce Young. But the No. 1 overall pick of last year's draft is certainly capable of rebounding in 2024 and beyond.

Weak Competition

There are very few questions about Brooks' spot on the depth chart once he's over his knee injury. Miles Sanders was one of the least effective runners in the league last year, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and ranking 45th among 49 qualifiers in NFL Next Gen Stats' Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt. Chuba Hubbard was better last season but is still much closer to NFL backup than lead back.

We have very little doubt that Brooks is the most talented player in this backfield.

Coaching Staff Upgrade

Brooks' dynasty stock also gets a boost landing with HC Dave Canales, who just helped Rachaad White to a breakout season as Bucs OC. White's big year was fueled by a 64-549-3 receiving line. And Canales has already hinted that he envisions Brooks playing a significant role in the passing game.

"He's a bigger back. He's got range. There's so much that he brings from a versatility standpoint," Canales said in his post-draft press conference. "That's probably the biggest thing that stood out. Vision, patience, contact balance, acceleration. He's got it all. He's the best back in this class and we're so fired up to be able to bring him in."

Dynasty Value Conclusion

We only have 10 games of Brooks as a lead back in college. That adds some unknown to his profile.

But those 10 games were mighty impressive – both on paper and on film.

Three-Down Potential

Brooks has lead-back size and a three-down skill set. He wins as a runner with elite burst and sneaky elusiveness. And he’s a natural pass-catcher with dangerous YAC skills.

It’s fair to wonder if Brooks’ middling power will keep him from a goal-line role. And, of course, we’ll need to monitor his recovery from that torn ACL.

But after landing in Carolina as the first RB off the board, Brooks is the clear top dynasty RB in this year’s class. His three-down potential gives him a shot at RB1-level fantasy production.

How Early Should Brooks Go in Rookie Drafts?

WRs Marvin Harrison, Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze are the clear top three picks in 1-QB rookie drafts. But once they're off the board, you can certainly consider taking Brooks over guys like WR Xavier Worthy, WR Brian Thomas, and TE Brock Bowers. They reside in the same tier in the dynasty rookie rankings.

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How does Brooks stack up vs. the rest of the rookies?

Matt and Jared take a pre-draft look at the 2024 rookie class ...

Jonathon Brooks Dynasty Value: Future fantasy RB1? (2024)
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