April 24, 2024

Devy Dilemma: Jonathon Brooks RB1?

3 min read
Jonathon Brooks

Jonathon Brooks

School: Texas Longhorns

Position: Running Back

Size: 6'0, 207lbs

Age: 20

Draft Eligible: 2024

 

Devy Dilemma: Jonathon Brooks

 

Just days after noted Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr named him as the 2024 NFL Draft’s top Running Back, Texas RB Jonathon Brooks was injured against TCU.  The Longhorns have lost their leading rusher to a torn ACL, which effectively ends his season.  The Redshirt Sophomore was in the middle of a special season, where he had gone from fighting for the top spot in the Texas backfield to fighting for the top spot among running backs in the NFL Draft.

Prior to the injury, Brooks was leading Texas against TCU with 21 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns along with three catches for 74 yards. For the season, Brooks has 1,139 yards and 10 TDs on the ground and 28 receptions, 286 yards and 1 TD. Jonathon Brooks was a leading contender for the Doak Walker award, given to the nation’s top running back. 

Jonathon Brooks

 

 

Three Down Work-Horse Running Back

Jonathon Brooks has everything the NFL looks for in a Running Back.  Size? Check.  At 6'0 207lbs, Brooks has the ideal size with the ability to add another 5-10 pounds in order to withstand NFL hits.  Skills?  Check.  He is a great runner in space, with good hands to make an impact out of the backfield.  Age? Check.  Brooks just turned 20 in October, meaning he would still be 20 years old as a rookie if he chose to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.  The real question...especially in CFF Dynasty Leagues or Campus to Canton Leagues...is how would his potential return to Texas affect CJ Baxter?  That would be IF Brooks came back for another season.

Competitor

When Brooks signed with Texas, the Longhorns already had stud Running Back Bijan Robinson.  After 2 seasons behind Robinson and Roschon Johnson on the depth chart, Brooks came into this season battling with incoming 5 star Freshman RB CJ Baxter and Redshirt Freshman Jaydon Blue.  He had every chance to leave Texas and transfer elsewhere in order to find a "better" situation.  However, he waited it out and earned the lead role in the Longhorn Backfield.  Now, he is one of the premiere running backs in the country.

 

 

Small-ish Sample Size

In his first 2 seasons in Austin, Jonathon Brooks only ran for a combined 340 yards.  He was never going to see a ton of touches with Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson on the roster.  This season, Brooks was only able to play in 10 games due to his ACL injury.  The sample size isn't overly concerning because of the position he plays, but it is at least...something.

Injury Status

Returning from an ACL tear for Running Backs in 2023 isn't a career ending injury like it was in the past.  However, sometimes complications can arise and the player can experience set backs on the way back to the playing field.  With his injury being this late in the season, his ability to participate in pre-draft workouts will likely be affected.  How that affects his draft stock will remain to be seen.

 

 

I don't think the injury will deter Brooks from becoming a productive NFL Running Back.  Many RBs experience ACL injuries during the course of their careers, and it hasn't proven to affect their abilities in the long-term.  If anything, he may need half a season to regain his full mobility. I would recommend trying to trade for him in devy leagues.

 

 

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