The 2024 rookie running back class is, for the most part, not generating much excitement. In the rankings below you will only see one rookie in my top 20, and only one more in the top 30. Our suspicions before the draft were confirmed by the NFL during the draft. But there is one guy who I think is an exception, Jonathon Brooks.

Brooks, despite still not being fully recovered from a torn ACL was the first running back selected, by the Carolina Panthers, with the second pick in Round 2. This is excellent draft capital for a running back in 2024, and only confirmed my belief that Brooks was the clear best back in the draft. While the ACL may keep him from a workhorse role early in Year 1, when teams invest a top 40 pick in a back that back generally gets an opportunity at a workhorse role. 

Brooks is still just 20 years old and was dominant in his lone year as a starter at Texas. He averaged 142.5 scrimmage yards per game and better than six yards per carry and 10 yards per catch. That last number, combined with his 2.5 catches per game, provides the final key to a workhorse role. He is someone you want to throw the ball to.

There are two questions that immediately spring up: How does a back that dominant fall to Round 2? Which is easily answered by Brooks' ACL injury. The second is just as easy. Why did Brooks only start one season? Bijan Robinson. Brooks' talent puts him inside the top five of a rookie one-QB draft, and No. 6 for me in Superflex. 

The other side of the declaration that Brooks is a top-12 running back is that you are not required to be flaw-free to earn that distinction. Christian McCaffrey is top five at 28 years old. Kyren Williams, Ken Walker, De'Von Achane, James Cook, and Rachaad White all rank top 12 with worts. Brooks' age, explosiveness, and potential workhorse role make him an easy top-12 back even if he is currently RB15 by consensus rankings and RB19 by Dynasty average draft position.

Earlier this week I had Jacob Gibbs on Fantasy Football Today Dynasty and we both have Brooks firmly inside Round 1 in all formats. Gibbs does prefer Brock Bowers, Rome Odunze, and Drake Maye. You can listen to the discussion here:

Here are my updated Dynasty running back rankings: