April 13, 2024

Rookie Spotlight 2024: Jonathon Brooks

4 min read

Being overshadowed by Bijan Robinson didn't benefit Jonathon Brooks. It created a perceived weakness: only one year of productivity. Before his injury, Brooks had impressive stats this season. In just 11 games, he rushed for 1139 yards and 10 touchdowns. Additionally, he excelled in receiving, with 25 catches for 286 yards and 1 touchdown. 

We have spotlighted Xavier Worthy already, and have talked about other Longhorn prospects in Ja’Tavion Sanders and Adonai Mitchell. Let's highlight another in Jonathon Brooks. 

 

Redshirt Sophomore

Running Back

Texas Longhorns

6ft 216 lbs 

18 Scrimmage TDs

 

 

STRENGTHS

Jonathon Brooks stands out in the running back draft class for his exceptional vision on the field. This skill, combined with his quick first step, solidifies his position as one of the top 5 RB prospects for 2024. Additionally, his ability to excel in receiving plays allows him to maneuver between the tackles and swiftly break through to the outside.

What sets Jonathon Brooks apart even further is his impressive body control, which enhances his already stellar move set. His adept game pace adjustments and the capability to start and stop swiftly contribute to his overall dynamic performance on the field.

 

 

WEAKNESSES

One key weakness is the player's sustainability. This is especially true given his recent injury. The NFL has an extended 17-game season. He only played 11 games in college due to a torn ACL in November.

Although he displays impressive evasive moves that can deceive defenders. He tends to stick to a single-running lane. Moreover, his decision-making skills in open-field situations raise some concerns. We don't know if he can execute his moves past the line of scrimmage well. He must do this to outmaneuver next-level defenders to make game-changing plays down the field.

 

 

NFL Player Comparison

Devonta Freeman

Freeman was a similar build. I believe he is a good player comparison because of the type of runner he was. Go back and watch Freeman highlights with the Falcons you see he was a reliable runner when he had a lane to go through. Having one of the better lines and an established QB in Matt Ryan he excelled. You get Freeman into the receiving game and he excelled as well.

Jonathon Brooks can be this as well. He will need a QB willing to dump it off and trust Brooks to make a play. Brooks also needs a team that will be dedicated to the run.

TOP LANDING SPOTS

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

With Alexander Mattison cut. They need someone to come in and play with Ty Chandler. They drafted DeWayne McBride last year and I would assume he will get some run to see if he can be that guy. If the Vikings don’t bring in someone in the free agency market, I would expect some more competition coming in from the draft. 

 

Brooks would complement Ty Chandler. Chandler is a change of pace and I like him more in the screen game and outside runs. Brooks could come in and get some of the between-the-tackles and first two downs of work. 

 

CAROLINA PANTHERS

A lot like the Vikings situation, the Panthers need to bring in someone to help complement Hubbard. They will give Miles Sanders another run this season because of how his contract looks, but a lot like last year, Sanders should not be viewed as the lead back. With an out in 2025 with only about 3 million in dead cap. Sanders could easily be done by next year.

 

The Panthers need to get younger and more dynamic. They can easily do that with how the running back market has plummeted and drafting one in the middle rounds in the draft is the way to do that. 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

It has been 2 off seasons now that they have said they need to bring Travis Etienne’s workload down. With that, they haven't used the draft capital in making that happen with the latest example being Tank Bigsby. 

The problem the Jaguars keep having is they want these backs to be another Etienne but not drafting his profile. Jonathon Brooks profiles a lot like Etienne. They want another back like him, take Brooks, and be done with it. 

 

 

FANTASY OUTLOOK

Right now it is so hard to predict the fantasy outlook for a rookie running back. You have some elite players like Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs. You can also get a Brian Robinson Jr or Kyren Williams who breaks out a little later.

This usually makes me take too many in drafts with my second and third-round picks. I do it to hedge the picks so I, hopefully,  can get at least one good one. Brooks and Braelon Allen are the only ones I am investing in. They are the only two who I believe can contribute right away and become an eventual starter. 

Their age, 20 years old, is another huge aspect. Brooks is only 20 years old. He has an easy path to an 8-year career. Other running backs in the class are already 23 or 24. Some older backs have already hit their breakout age. But, Brooks won't until his second contract. That's a value you can’t always get and something I am always looking for.

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