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2024 Rookie Profile: Jonathon Brooks – Running Back

Jonathon Brooks is coming off a big ACL tear, but does he have the talent to compete in this class? @coachstevep dives into Brooks' background.

Profile Overview

  • College: Texas
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 216 lbs
  • Age: 20 (July 21, 2003)
  • Year: Junior
  • Draft Projection: 2nd Round

College Career

YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTD
2021TexasBig 12FRRB4211436.81112120
*2022TexasBig 12FRRB7301976.6523718.51
*2023TexasBig 12JRRB1118711396.1102528611.41

Brooks played his high school ball at Hallettsville High School. He was a multiple-star athlete in football and basketball and a four-star recruit when he landed with Texas. Unfortunately, Brooks landed in a crowded backfield. He had to spend two years behind Roschon Johnson and Bijan Robinson. Despite limited touches, Brooks managed to run for over six yards per carry and score seven touchdowns on 51 carries.

In 2023, Brooks had to fight for his playing time early on in the season. True Freshman CJ Baxter would be the week one starter, but Brooks’ stellar play would soon give him the starting job. He would continue to shine in the Texas offense in a 60/40 split. Brooks was having a dominant season, but he tore his ACL in Week 11 of the college season. He would have been in the top ten in rushing among all college running backs had he not gone down.

Strengths

Brooks is a solid overall runner with a great first cut in his runs. He has been solid with waiting for his blockers to develop and finding the holes to make big plays. Brooks is an excellent decision-maker with solid footwork to change direction and defy defenses. He has solid balance when defenders don’t fully tackle him. He has great job security with the ball, too, with only one fumble in 266 career touches. There are three big traits that Brooks has thrived in at college that will make him a star at the NFL level.

Elusiveness

One of Brooks’s exceptional strengths in his game is his elusiveness on the field. Brooks’s ability to make defenders miss is impressive to watch on the field. He led all-power five running backs last season in forced missed tackles with 58. It’s even more remarkable that he didn’t play a full season, yet he still led all of college. We’ve seen the best running backs in the league be able to force defenses to miss. The NFL leader in missed tackles last year had 64. In space, Brooks is too dangerous not to have multiple defenders not target him, or he will make defenses pay.

Long Speed

Another trait of Brooks is his speed. He has the long speed to make big plays on the field. If he can get around the corner or find an open lane, Brooks has the speed to break for a long run. In the video above, Brooks has shown the ability to take the edge and explode up the field. Due to his amazing talent, he isn’t going to get chased down too often once he gets going up the field.

Pass-Catching Ability Upside

Brooks’ last highlighted strength is his pass-catching ability. He was able to catch 25 balls last season. Many of Brooks’s catches were short screen and passes to the outside. A few plays showed Brooks’s ability as a pass catcher to do more. He has solid hands, and his pass radius is very impressive. Brooks was sixth in yards per pass route at 1.50. Especially once he gets into open space on a catch, he can get you 15-plus yards on any play. Brooks should be able to be a weapon at the NFL level.

Areas of Concern

For Brooks, the concern will be how he recovers from his injury. Typically, ACL tears are a thing of the past, but his draft stock could fall due to it. He is expected to be ready by training camp, but it’s still a mystery. It also could be concerning that he got injured during his time as the starter with a heavier workload. There could be some concerns with durability.

When watching a film on Brooks, a few things could concern scouts. He has average balance and power in his run. He usually goes down after the first contact from the defender. Brooks isn’t a guy who moves the pile for extra yards. He doesn’t come in on his blocks at a physical level, which needs to be addressed if he is going to play all three downs at the next level.

Dynasty Value/Landing Spot/Rookie Pick Value

Brooks will be an interesting prospect coming into the draft because his injury may hold him back with draft capital. Based on his talent, Brooks should be a second-round pick in the NFL draft. He may slide to round three, but he should be a day-two pick at least. Brooks met with the Colts, Steelers, and Commanders at the NFL combine. I think many running back-needy teams could also meet with Brooks this offseason. It may not be clear who needs a back until after free agency starts, but Brooks could be linked to multiple teams.

Brooks will likely be a late second or third-round pick in rookie drafts. His draft capital will be huge to where he is drafted in drafts. He has the talent to contribute to the field right away. He is coming off that ACL injury, so he may be unable to prove it immediately at training camp. Brooks may have to show in the season that he deserves more playing time. Brooks may take more time to make an impact on dynasty rosters. He is still an excellent investment to draft, but expect him to take some time before becoming a reliable option.

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One Response

  1. His injury came when the defender tackled him and got up while still holding, and twisting his leg. So workload probably wasn’t the issue.

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