Perhaps a white flag might be more apt -- the Chiefs all but surrendered their offensive firepower when Holmes went down late last season. In their final game of 2002, a 24-0 shutout loss to Oakland, replacement running backs Mike Cloud and Derrick Blaylock performed so poorly that even a hobbled Holmes probably could have bettered their output.
Johnson, who gained more than 2,000 yards last season, might be an improvement over those incumbent backups. Then again, he struggled against top college teams, failing to clear 100 yards in Penn State's four losses to ranked opponents. He hails from a school that's produced a daunting list of duds, and given that they've all shared the same coach (Joe Paterno) and system, it's fair to ask whether Johnson might be the next Nittany Lion to turn into a lamb. Finally, Johnson, a bruising back, differs stylistically from the nimble Holmes, which raises questions about how the rookie will fit into an offense that's not suited to his strengths.
To the Chiefs' credit, Johnson was the best back on the board. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that he -- or any other player in this year's draft -- will have the impact that Holmes had last season. The Chiefs replaced an exclamation point with a question mark, becoming the only team to look worse on paper after the draft than it did before.