1. Broncos running back: Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary versus Clinton Portis
In the Denver camp every comment about Davis is prefaced with, "If he stays healthy...." Based on his recent track record—five knee surgeries in three seasons—no one can be sure that he will. That's why Portis, the cat-quick second-round draft pick out of Miami, is already attracting a lot of attention. And don't forget Gary, who rushed for 1,159 yards as a rookie three years ago and is in the best shape of his life. Coach Mike Shanahan would lose some power running if he goes with Portis, but Shanahan has never had a durable speed back.
Forecast: When all is said and done, Portis will lead the team in carries this season.
2. Bucs quarterback: Brad Johnson versus Rob Johnson
Coach Jon Gruden likes the steadiness, headiness and accuracy of Brad, and he keeps calling him the starter. But Gruden gets excited about Rob, saying, "Is he a talent? He's explosive as hell!" The longer Johnson and Johnson fight it out, the more Gruden will fall in love with Rob's athleticism and arm strength.
Forecast: It may take until midseason, but Rob Johnson will be the man.
3. Cowboys cornerback: Bryant Westbrook versus Pat Dennis and Duane Hawthorne
Dallas bypassed its biggest need, cornerback, high in the draft, counting on Westbrook to continue his rebound from a torn Achilles that he suffered while playing for the Lions in November 2000. While looking good at times, he has lacked consistency. Dennis is running ahead of Hawthorne, but neither is setting the world on fire.
Forecast: Westbrook wins the job, but he'll get beaten often.
4. Chiefs tight end: Tony Gonzalez versus president Carl Peterson