The Carolina Panthers selected running back Jonathon Brooks with a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here's what you need to know about his Fantasy stock in both season-long and Dynasty formats.

Brooks' Fantasy fit with the Panthers

This was a preferred landing spot. The Panthers rebuilt their offensive line and don't have a running back that would block Brooks from eventually becoming their primary guy. Perhaps Brooks' rookie year would see him get eased in since the Panthers could also utilize Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders. But as the offense develops, so too would Brooks' game, and perhaps as soon as 2025 we could see Brooks as Carolina's feature back. New Panthers coach Dave Canales has not only had an impact on rehabbing quarterbacks lately, but he's also done an awesome job utilizing running backs both on the ground and through the air. Notably, Rachaad White became a high-volume back with the Bucs under Canales last year; Brooks could follow suit. We'll have to watch how his knee fares this offseason but if all is right with him then he should be taken as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy running back in Round 6. 

Dynasty Outlook

Between his patience, his vision, his cut-back ability and his good speed, Brooks has the potential to become an excellent zone-scheme running back. Add on his NFL-ready receiving skill-set and there's upside to be a very good stat producer. Obviously the first hurdle is seeing how quickly Brooks can get on an NFL field and play without being cautious as he's coming back from a torn ACL. The second hurdle is figuring out whether or not he'll share the ball on a weekly basis or eventually become a team's primary running back. Canales' recent history suggests that he could be open to Brooks as a lead guy. Bank on Brooks to be one of the first two running backs taken in rookie-only drafts. At least three receivers and one tight end (you know who they are!) will go ahead of Brooks, but then he's fair game, putting him in range as the fifth pick in one-QB leagues and around seventh in SuperFlex/two-QB formats.

Jonathon Brooks: What to know

Halfway between Houston and San Antonio is a small Texas town named Hallettsville. That's where Jonathon Brooks was born in July 2003. Seventeen years later he became a football sensation after scoring 62 rushing touchdowns in 15 games as a high school senior at Hallettsville High. That's not a typo. SIXTY-TWO. That doesn't include eight touchdowns that he caught and the one that he intercepted and returned (he also played cornerback). And we might as well mention the 3,842 total yards he had on offense. The guy looked like Superman out there in 2020.

Not surprisingly he was named Mr. Texas Football High School Player of the Year by Texas Football Magazine, an award given to prior high school phenoms who went on to the NFL like Marvin Mims, Jacquizz Rodgers, Johnny Manziel and Kyler Murray (twice). He was easily earned a 247Sports four-star composite ranking but was just outside of the top-50 prospects in Texas. He got a scholarship offer from Texas in 2019, committed in 2020 and enrolled in 2021 as a backup behind Bijan Robinson for two seasons before breaking out last year as a redshirt sophomore. He was coached by former NFL running back Tashard Choice, whom Brooks credits for his development. 

Last November, Brooks tore his right ACL against TCU, ending his 2023 campaign early. The school valued him so much that they dressed him out in his full uniform for their Big 12 title game about three weeks later, and while wearing a brace took to the field to line up in the backfield during the team's victory formation, technically making that his last snap at Texas. At the 2023 NFL Combine, Brooks said he was 12 weeks into his recovery and started running again.

Age as of Week 1: 21 | Height: 6-foot-0 | Weight: 216 | Hand: 9 1/4 | Arm: 31 1/2 | 40: n/a

Comparable body-type to: Dameon Pierce

We're breaking down everything you need to know about Brooks from a Fantasy manager perspective, including a scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.

Scouting report


  • Built solidly with good size in his legs. Height is fine for his position.
  • Typically worked as Texas' feature back in 2023 after the school lost both Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson to the NFL. He lined up in the backfield on 95.2% of his snaps. Brooks handled a majority of passing-downs work on top of his main role.
  • Appropriately carried the ball high and tight and finished runs with two hands cradling the ball. He had one fumble lost last year over 187 carries.
  • Patient runner, sometimes to a fault. Would often wait that extra second to let his linemen clear space for him.
  • Still has work to do to become a master at knowing where to run, but his vision was generally good. Some games (Baylor, TCU) his vision was great. Others (Oklahoma, Alabama) it was spotty. Ultimately when he saw a crease open for him to run through he usually reacted quickly. His vision when he made it to the second level was good as he would diagnose defenders nearby and change directions as needed.
  • Brooks was shifty and loved to make cuts. His lateral agility and body control were both very good. He's good at cutting, he just does it a little too much. It's a trait that, once harnessed, should lead to really good results in the NFL. His talent would be maximized in a zone-blocking scheme.
  • Good burst off of handoffs and really anytime he was able to see green grass.
  • Acceleration and speed were good enough to pick up plenty of chunk gains but he took some outstanding angles when in open space to maximize his time before contact. Brooks had 11 carries last year that went between 12 and 20 yards, and another 10 that went 21 or more yards including two rushes of over 50 yards against Kansas.
  • Overall contact balance and body control were arguably the best parts of Brooks' game. He withstood so many low-tackle attempts and has the low center of gravity to consistently stay on his feet to add yardage.
  • Had a knack for making the first guy miss, especially when in space including on receptions.
  • Did tend to fall forward a lot and dragged smaller defenders a decent amount after contact. Fought hard after contact.
  • Brooks had awesome hands. Adjusted to off-target throws and brought in multiple one-handed grabs as an outlet in the Texas passing game. Had two drops over 29 targets last year. Carried all of his rushing traits into receiving plays after the catch. The scary part is that he can improve his route running and route tree to become so much more in this area.
  • Has potential as a blocker but needs to get coached up on his form and technique.
  • Brooks had 238 career carries and 28 career catches at Texas, meaning he has a ton of miles to go on his odometer. There's a chance he could play at a high level for at least seven seasons.


  • Adding a bit of muscle to his upper body could go a long way in improving his power and physicality, especially since he's already showed he can carry defenders for max yardage after contact. 
  • Not a major concern: All but 21 of his 440 snaps last year were in the backfield. It would be awesome if he could develop into a matchup problem across the formation. I would expect almost any coaching staff that lands him to use him more in motion, out wide, and in the slot.
  • Sometimes Brooks took too much time to diagnose his blockers and/or defenders coming at him. When this happened, Brooks would often freeze and couldn't restart his feet fast enough to adjust and he'd get hammered. It was almost as if he instinctively tried to make a cut to get away from a problem spot and instead became an easier target for defenders to hit. I'd argue that if he tried cutting a little less and adopted downhill running a little more he'd be an even better running back. When Brooks just ran -- no stopping, no cuts -- he looked marvelous.
  • Vision on zone-blocked runs was good but there were moments in every game with bad decisions on where to run. Sometimes he'd ditch his blocking to take a lane that didn't offer much potential. He rarely bounced outside to try and out-run defenders and instead tried to make cuts into other space. And a lot of the plays where it looked like he had great vision were helped by his offensive line making gigantic holes, thus making it easy for Brooks to coast. All I'm saying is that he can evolve here and have more consistent vision. 
  • Brooks had quickness in his game with moments of speed, but rarely did he explode into top gear to speed away from defenders. For a guy under 220 pounds, you kind of wish he flashed more top-end speed in open space so he wouldn't get caught from behind. Plays like his touchdown run against Kansas were few and far between.
  • Injury concern: Brooks tore his right ACL last November, putting him on track to be close to ready by the start of the season. Will he take a year to get fully comfortable with his knee? Will he ever be exactly how he was? We've come to learn that many running backs returning from ACL injuries are usually fine, but not all of them. There is some additional trepidation in Brooks' outlook knowing he's coming back from a major injury and he's a cutback runner who wasn't the fastest back to begin with. The only other reported injury Brooks has had is a sports hernia that he played with in 2022, requiring surgery after the season. 

Stats breakdown

2023 v Top-255795166.55107618.70

Advanced stats to know

  • Among the 136 FBS running backs with at least 115 carries in 2023, Brooks was tied for 22nd in yards per rush (6.1), 19th in yards after contact per rush (3.91) and 11th in avoided tackle rate (33.7%). The only 2024 draft prospects that ranked better than Brooks in all three of these specific categories were USC's MarShawn Lloyd and Oregon's Bucky Irving.
  • With the same qualifiers, Brooks was 45th in yards before contact per rush (2.16) and 58th in explosive rush rate (11.2%). Fellow 2024 draft prospect Audric Estime, who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, had a higher explosive rush rate (13.3%).
  • Of his 1,139 rush yards, 732 were deemed to come after first contact (hence the 3.91 yards after contact per rush). That seems like a ton (it's 64.3% of his total rush yards) but it's merely 61st among the qualifying RBs.
  • When running inside or outside zone last year, Brooks averaged 6.8 yards per rush with 2.82 yards before contact per rush, 3.93 yards after contact per rush, a 14.9% explosive play rate and a 33.7% avoided tackle rate. Six touchdowns came over his 101 zone attempts. Predictably, it seemed like Brooks was at his best in this scheme.
  • When running power-gap last year, Brooks averaged 4.5 yards per rush with 1.28 yards before contact per rush, 3.25 yards after contact per rush, an 5.6% explosive play rate and a 23.9% avoided tackle rate. Four touchdowns came on his 71 power-gap runs.
  • When running to the tackles or edges last year, Brooks averaged 5.2 yards per rush with 1.54 yards before contact per rush, 3.69 yards after contact per rush, a 6.9% explosive play rate and a 32.7% avoided tackle rate. Eight touchdowns came on his 101 outside runs.
  • When running inside the tackles last year, Brooks averaged 7.0 yards per rush with 2.87 yards before contact per rush, 4.17 yards after contact per rush, a 16.3% explosive play rate and a 34.9% avoided tackle rate. Two touchdowns came on his 86 inside runs. Seems like Brooks was at his best when he didn't run outside.
  • Brooks scored on 6 of 15 rush attempts inside the 5, and 1 of 5 rush attempts from the one-yard line. Brooks' other four touchdowns came on plays of 22 or more yards. That means Brooks was scoreless on 18 rush attempts between his opponents' 6- and 20-yard lines.
  • For his career, Brooks scored on 8 of 19 rush attempts inside the 5, and 1 of 6 rush attempts from the one-yard line. That's six rush attempts from the 1-yard line in three years at Texas with just one touchdown.
  • Among the 130 FBS running backs with at least 25 targets in 2023, Brooks was 33rd in catch rate (86.2%), 15th in yards per catch (11.4), seventh in explosive catch rate (20.7%), fifth in Yards After Catch per reception (13.3) and fourth in avoided tackle rate on receptions (52%). No RB in the draft class can match him on all of these metrics.
  • With the same qualifiers, Brooks was 115th in Average Depth of Target (-1.14 yards; he caught a lot of passes behind the line of scrimmage). Honestly, aside from a 6.9% drop rate, that's all the bad stuff we can say about his receiving skills.
  • Not an advanced stat, but an interesting nugget: Brooks' ACL surgery was performed by the Dallas Cowboys' team doctor.

NFL Comparison

The whole world has compared Brooks to Vikings running back Aaron Jones because both are a little lean but are shifty and can make defenses pay through the air. I think Dalvin Cook is a better comparison because Cook was outstanding as a zone-scheme runner, did a good job of making guys miss, and impacting the game with his receiving skills.  And Cook never played at a heavy weight. If Brooks can harness his cuts and run a little more freely, he could be just as effective as Cook was.