Carolina Panthers draft pick tipped for rookie superstardom in 2024

Could the Carolina Panthers get immediate bang for their buck?
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has centered around placing the weapons and stability around quarterback Bryce Young he didn't benefit from during a disastrous rookie campaign. Dan Morgan invested heavily in fortifying the protection and improving the skill positions. This same trend continued during an eventful 2024 NFL Draft.

The Carolina Panthers kicked off their selections by trading into the first round for Xavier Legette at No. 32 overall. This seemed like a realistic destination for the South Carolina wide receiver from a long way out, but Morgan's next selection was far more surprising.

After trading down to acquire a 2025 second-round selection - they're giving up their own as part of the trade to land Young last year - the Panthers struck with conviction to move swiftly back up the order to bring running back Jonathon Brooks into the organization at No. 46 overall.

Jonathon Brooks can help Carolina Panthers offense thrive

Considering this wasn't tabbed as a significant need heading into the draft, it raised a few eyebrows. However, those in power took a keen interest in some of the top running back prospects throughout their comprehensive assessments, so it was always a possibility.

Instead of waiting around, the Panthers took what many believe to be the best backfield prospect in this year's class. Brooks is coming off a torn ACL, which is concerning. Providing there are no complications in his rehabilitation, his athleticism, on-field vision, and pass-catching ability make the former Texas star a legitimate three-down threat capable of implementing Dave Canales' philosophy with supreme conviction en route to making Young's life easier.

This was a sentiment echoed by Matt Harmon, Fantasy Football analyst at Yahoo Sports. He tipped Brooks to become a big hit in Carolina - someone who can provide a much-needed spark to a Panthers offense that became predictable and mundane under the previous regime.

"The Panthers were quietly one of the neediest teams at the running back position, despite Chuba Hubbard giving them acceptable play last year following Miles Sanders’ flop as the starter.

"Dave Canales has consistently emphasized his commitment to the running game whenever speaking to the public: You don’t put that level of importance on building a rushing attack and then shoot for “acceptable” at your RB1 spot. Enter Jonathon Brooks, who will shoot far beyond that territory if he hits.

"Brooks, fresh off an ACL tear, won’t be 100% to start the season but could be a terror by year’s end, much like Breece Hall was last year the further he got from his knee injury. The Panthers' lack of juice on offense will keep some of the fantasy enthusiasm for Books at bay, but he’s a strong option late in Round 1 of dynasty rookie drafts and someone who makes sense in certain redraft builds."

This would be the best-case scenario. The Panthers will take things easy with Brooks to prevent any unnecessary complications upon his return. They have Chuba Hubbard, Miles Sanders, and Raheem Blackshear to pick up the slack, but it shouldn't be long before he's ready to be unleashed.

Canales wants to run the football stubbornly and effectively. He's made no secret of that, and the offensive line has some newfound physicality and aggression thanks to the arrivals of Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis in free agency. This will be the intent, but Young has enough quality around him to capitalize on passing opportunities when they arise, too.

Brooks is the sort of electrifying talent and effortless mover that can take the league by storm. Whether this comes during his rookie campaign remains to be seen, but the notion cannot be dismissed by any stretch of the imagination.