2024 Rookie Faceoff: Brock Bowers v Jonathon Brooks

This is the only time in this series where we cross positions in our faceoff, but in this case, it’s a real-life scenario that could easily play out around pick 1.08 to 1.10. After the draft, it seems we have a set top-7 with four quarterbacks and three receivers going off the board, but the hype on Bowers has slowed a bit after he was selected by the Raiders. This 2024 Rookie Faceoff figures to be an interesting one, to say the least. Welcome to the 2024 Rookie Faceoff: brock Bowers v Jonathon Brooks.

The question after the first seven go off the board is, do I take the first tight end off the board or the first running back? After the NFL Draft, one tight end and one running back both set themselves far apart from the pack as the easy number one at their position. While most managers have selected Bowers in this spot, let’s take a look at the numbers to see if that’s the right pick.

Meet Brock Bowers

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Brock Bowers posted the best single-season stat line of any tight end in this draft class, and that’s in the worst season of his three-year career at The University of Georgia. He topped 50 receptions, 700 receiving yards, and six touchdowns in all three years, lite for a tight end. Bowers has been a stud since his freshman year and was the go-to target for the Bulldogs even over the receivers. At only 21 years old, the best could be yet to come for Bowers who hasn’t even fully developed yet. His participation in the pre-draft process was non-existent as he had little to gain, but what he put on tape in college is more than enough to warrant a first-round selection in the NFL.

Meet Jonathon Brooks

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Jonathon Brooks is an enigma. He spent three years at The University of Texas and played full time in only his senior year as he was buried behind both Roschon Johnson and Bijan Robinson for the beginning of his career. His senior year showed off his elite potential and skill level but was capped off with a November ACL tear that sent his fantasy value into a tailspin. The reports would indicate that he will be ready to go for training camp, but fantasy managers should beware as it can often take multiple years for a running back to regain his full explosiveness after an injury like this.

Player Comparables

The two most relevant player comparisons are all-time studs at their position for fantasy purposes. Bower’s profile has him closest to the San Francisco 49ers tight end in overall size and play style, while Brooks is closest to former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. These are two lofty comparisons to heave upon these two rookies, but that’s exactly why they are the easy number ones at their respective positions.

Should either player reach the level of their predecessor, they will easily be worth the first-round rookie pick they require. Both players have high expectations, but which one is likely to be the better overall investment for your fantasy team? We will try not to knock Brooks too much for the likely shorter career her will have since he is a running back.

This faceoff is going to be the toughest one yet to grade and is going to be relative to their positional needs. So just because one player wins a certain category head to head doesn’t mean they win the faceoff. Consider this one graded on a curve.

Size Comparison

Brock Bowers checks in at 6’3″ and 243 lbs. Which isn’t small by normal measure, but as far as tight ends go, it puts him in the range of small to medium at best.

Jonathon Brooks weighed in at 6’0″ and 216 lbs. While that is three inches shorter and 27 lbs lighter than Bowers, it is far better when compared to their positional standards.

So, grading on a curve based on positional norms, Brooks wins this one easily as he is an above-average size running back compared to a small tight end.

Winner: Jonathon Brooks (1-0)

Speed Comparison

As far as speed goes, Brock Bowers runs a 4.48-second 40-yard Dash which grades out in the 98th percentile of tight ends. This is the biggest asset for Bowers as he has elite speed, especially relative to his position. Bowers has easily the best speed in this class at his position and is among the leaders overall.

Brooks is similar to Bowers in that he didn’t participate in any of the pre-draft process, obviously for different reasons. He runs a slightly faster 40-yard Dash with a 4.45, but his only grades out as an 82nd-percentile for running backs.

So, for the second straight category, the straight-up winner is not the winner when positional standards are factored in. Brock Bowers evens the score here with a win on a curve.

Winner: Brock Bowers (1-1)

Route Running

This is the first category that will be graded straight up without the need for a curve as pass-catching is pass-catching. While both will operate in different levels of the field as pass-catchers, their talents can be taken at face value.

Bowers is the easy winner in this category. He grades out almost flawless in his overall route running. I have him graded out as a 93 on short routes, 98 on intermediate routes, and 93 on deep routes which is considerably better than Brooks who grades out in the 70s across the board.

It’s no surprise that Bowers wins this category as he has operated as a receiver of sorts for his entire career, whereas Brooks is a running back with the ability to occasionally catch a pass.

Winner: Brock Bowers (2-1)


This is yet another category in which Bowers wins very predictably as it’s taken at face value without a curve and showcases the difference between a natural pass-catcher and a player who can catch.

It was, however, closer than expected as Bowers graded out at 83% and Brooks graded out at 79%. Both have shown the ability to be solid receivers, but Bowers is the far better receiver with a much higher receiving ceiling.

Winner: Brock Bowers (3-1)

College Production

It gets tough to compare tight-end production to running back production yard for yard, but the body of work for Bowers speaks for itself. In three years at Georgia, Bowers put up some of the best production we’ve ever seen from a college tight end. His worst season was 56 catches for 714 yards and six touchdowns, while his best season was 63 catches for 942 yards and seven touchdowns. Although his career high in touchdowns came as a freshman with 13 scores.

On the flip side, Brooks put up one solid season with 1,139 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. A solid stat line to say the least, but it pales in comparison to the career-long production of Bowers.

Winner: Brock Bowers (4-1)

College Dominator

A category that has nothing to debate and simply comes down to a specific number, we see Jonathon Brooks posting a college dominator of 29.3% against a college dominator of 27.2% for Brock Bowers.

This is particularly surprising considering Brooks spent far more time buried on his depth chart, but it goes to show that when he did play, he was elite.

Bowers on the other hand put up an elite dominator rating for a tight end, but he’s still a tight end so he loses this category.

Winner: Jonathon Brooks (2-4)

Landing Spot & Draft Capital

The draft capital is a cut-and-dry argument. Brock Bowers went 13th overall which is about the best draft capital a tight end could ask for, outside of Kyle Pitts that is. While Jonathon Brooks was selected 46th overall in the second round.

Second-round draft capital is nothing to scoff at for a running back. The new NFL seems to have made first-round running backs a thing of the past. Regardless, second-round capital, while impressive pales in comparison to a tight end going in the first round.

Score one more for Brock Bowers, who pulls out the overall win handily with a 5-2 victory over Brooks.

Winner: Brock Bowers (5-2)

And the Winner is…

To no one’s surprise, the winner of this fight was Brock Bowers. Bowers was seen as the best tight-end prospect we’ve seen in years, while Brooks is regarded as the RB1 in a weak running back class.

This decisive win for Bowers shouldn’t dissuade you from drafting Brooks in the first round of rookie drafts, but if the decision is between him and Bowers, take Bowers.

That’s a surprising statement for a writer who is completely against using first-round picks on tight ends. In this case, though, Bowers wins easily.

If you would like to learn more about Bowers v Brooks, check out our 2024 Rookie Sneak Peek videos of both players on The Fantasy Football Universe Podcast. Check out our full rankings on our Rankings Page.

Brock Bowers Georgia
Jonathon Brooks Texas
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