Panthers news: Stephon Gilmore, Jonathon Brooks, Jalen Coker, sleeper pick

Examining the latest Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.
Jonathon Brooks
Jonathon Brooks / Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA
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Jonathon Brooks tipped for instant Carolina Panthers impact

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Carolina Panthers traded up to acquire running back Jonathon Brooks at No. 46 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. The former Texas star is coming off a torn ACL and might not be ready for significant responsibilities early in the campaign, but those in power believe he could potentially become a legitimate three-down backfield presence to put alongside quarterback Bryce Young.

Brooks is a fluid mover with the vision and speed needed to spot seams and exploit them. The Panthers need to approach his rehabilitation with extreme caution, but they have Chuba Hubbard, Miles Sanders, Raheem Blackshear, and recently acquired veteran Rashaad Penny to pick up the slack until he's 100 percent ready.

Further optimism around Brooks came thanks to Chris Trapasso from CBS Sports, who placed the player at No. 5 in his list of offensive rookies who could potentially make an immediate impact in 2024. However, this is predicated on making a full recovery from such a serious complication.

"I didn't have [Jonathon] Brooks graded as a top three running back in this class. However, I was in the minority with that take. Beyond that, I will admit Brooks has feature-back size, speed, power and plus cutting capabilities. He's built to run between the tackles, and once medically cleared, handle a full workload. That's precisely what he's going to do in Carolina, with only Chuba Hubbard ahead of him on the running back depth chart. He's in a glorious situation to handle feature-back duties. Instantly. And while I don't envision the Panthers' offensive line to routinely bulldoze the fronts it faces, at least GM Dan Morgan prioritized the blocking unit this offseason, signing guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis."

Brooks looks like a star and was well on course for Heisman Trophy consideration with the Longhorns last season before things took an unfortunate turn. The Panthers seem confident that everything is satisfactory from medical checks during their pre-draft assessments, so this pick could be an absolute masterstroke when it's all said and done.