Top five picks in 2016 draft: Browns' biggest area of need? QB, again

Periodically, the five of us who cover the top five selections in this year’s draft for ESPN NFL Nation will examine an issue collectively.

Today, we take a closer look at the top positional area of need for each team heading into April’s draft.

1. Tennessee Titans: It’s really hard to pick one top area of need for the Titans. They have won five games in two seasons and have holes all over the place. They are solid at tight end, have an up-and-coming starting quarterback and two good outside linebackers when healthy, and that’s about it. They need offensive linemen, receivers, cornerbacks, a free safety, a running back and depth at outside linebacker. Ownership has made it clear that protecting Marcus Mariota is the franchise’s top priority. Better weapons that Mariota can get the ball to quickly and a better running back can also do things that help protect Mariota. Still, it’s easy to put linemen at the head of the list. Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss looks to be one of the best tackle prospects we’ve seen in years, and if the Titans stay at No. 1, he could be their guy. But the Titans have to measure all those needs against what’s available in free agency, and where the strengths of the draft are as they look to bolster so many areas. -- Paul Kuharsky

2. Cleveland Browns: Cleveland should win an award for consistency. This marks 13 years in a row that the top priority has remained the same -- which of course means the Browns, since 1999, have never solved the riddle of the quarterback. They have drafted quarterbacks -- Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye and Tim Couch all were third- or first-round picks. They have signed free agents -- Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Jake Delhomme, Josh McCown. They have pulled them off the scrap heap -- Derek Anderson, Brian Hoyer. They still don’t have one. With the Browns, this discussion is easy. They need a quarterback this year, they needed one last year, they have needed one every year. -- Pat McManamon

3. San Diego Chargers: You certainly could argue San Diego needs help on the offensive line with all the struggles they had finding five healthy bodies up front on a weekly basis in 2015. However, an even more pressing need is a playmaking, disruptive force on the interior of the team’s defense. San Diego gave up 4.8 yards per carry last season, third worst in the NFL. The Chargers also allowed a league-worst 21 runs of 20-plus yards. An athletic, playmaking defensive lineman such as Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner or Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche would pair nicely with San Diego’s last defensive lineman selected in the first round, Corey Liuget, helping to keep inside linebackers Manti Te'o and Denzel Perryman clean. -- Eric D. Williams

4. Dallas Cowboys: The focus so far has been on quarterback considering Tony Romo's age -- he turns 36 in April -- and injury history, but this is a team that has plenty of needs, especially defensively. It’s difficult to pick between cornerback and pass-rusher. The Cowboys are thin at both areas. Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012, is a free agent to be, Brandon Carr has a $13.7 million salary-cap figure and Orlando Scandrick missed last season because of major knee surgery, making cornerback a pressing need. But a cornerback's job is easier if the team can affect the quarterback, and the Cowboys are likely to let Greg Hardy leave via free agency. Jeremy Mincey and Jack Crawford also are expected to hit the market. The good news is that with the fourth pick the Cowboys stand a decent chance of landing a Jalen Ramsey or Bosa, depending on what happens with the three picks in front of them. -- Todd Archer

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Without question it is the pass rush. One of the tenets of coach Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme is getting pressure on first and second down from a position called the Leo, which is a defensive end lined up on the weak side of the offensive formation. The Jaguars’ top two players at that spot in 2015, Andre Branch and Chris Clemons, combined for 7.0 sacks and had long stretches during games and over multiple weeks where they were practically invisible. Not having Dante Fowler Jr., the No. 3 overall pick in 2015 (he suffered a torn left ACL during rookie minicamp), hurt too. Because of the lack of pressure, the Jaguars were forced to blitz 182 times, which was the 14th most in the NFL according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Jaguars had the fewest blitzes in 2013 (110) and 2014 (95). Fowler is on track with his rehab and expected to be completely cleared by training camp, but a reasonable expectation for him would be 5-7 sacks. Only 12 players have recorded double-digit sacks in their first season since 2001, and only 25 have had eight or more sacks in that same span. Neither Branch nor Clemons is expected back, so the Jaguars are going to pursue some pass-rushers in free agency. Even if they sign one or two, the pass rush will still remain the top priority in the draft. The Jaguars might not take a pass-rusher with their first pick (No. 5) because it’s not a great draft for pass-rushers, but they likely will use multiple picks on middle-tier rushers. -- Michael DiRocco