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Top five picks in 2016 draft: Bringing back Antonio Gates priority for Chargers

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 identify a player your team needs to keep around in free agency, thereby eliminating a primary need at the top of the draft.

1. Tennessee Titans: Tennessee does not have many notable guys who are about to be free agents on its roster. The Titans held on to tight end Craig Stevens with a one-year deal. The next best guy is nose tackle Al Woods, who played well early last season. Base run defense up the middle was poor in Tennessee last year, however, and a free agent such as Damon Harrison of the New York Jets or Ian Williams of the San Francisco 49ers would be more desirable than Woods. In-house free agent to-be Coty Sensabaugh has already seen the Titans sign Brice McCain, who likely takes his spot. From there, it's wearing-down nose tackle Sammie Hill, right tackle Byron Bell and miscast inside linebacker Zach Brown. Tennessee needs to upgrade on all three of those guys. -- Paul Kuharsky.

2. Cleveland Browns: Cleveland says it will take the best player available with the second pick in the draft. Most smirk at that and figure a quarterback will magically become the best player available. At the same time, many consider Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey the best talent for the second spot. Ramsey can play corner or safety and could immediately fill in for Tashaun Gipson at free safety. However, taking Ramsey with the second pick means waiting on a quarterback, which doesn't seem wise. If the Browns want to ensure they get their quarterback, they need to re-sign Gipson, thus removing the need to even consider Ramsey. Will it happen? Not likely. But re-signing Gipson opens the door fully for their choice of quarterback. -- Pat McManamon

3. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers need to bring Philip Rivers' security blanket, Antonio Gates, back in free agency. Although he turns 36 in June, Gates remains one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the game, and he is a frequent target of Rivers on money downs and in the red zone. Add that this year's draft class is a little weak at tight end, and the importance of re-signing Gates is even more urgent for the Chargers. Besides, we wouldn't want to miss out on sideline conversations such as this one between Rivers and Gates in 2016. -- Eric D. Williams

4. Dallas Cowboys: I can go either of two ways here with Rolando McClain or Morris Claiborne, but to me, McClain makes the most sense. Although Myles Jack is considered a top-10 talent, I don't know if taking a linebacker at No. 4 is the best investment. Cornerback would be more important, so re-signing McClain, who seems to have found a home with the Cowboys after he struggled to find one in Oakland, is key. By keeping McClain, the Cowboys would not have to view linebacker as a priority need going into the draft. The goal in free agency is to cover as many holes as possible. If Dallas keeps McClain, he would have the opportunity to have his first full offseason with the Cowboys. In 2014, he was signed in July after the offseason program ended. Last year, he had knee surgery and spent the bulk of the offseason rehabbing in Alabama. He still put up numbers, despite not being around for the organized team activities and minicamp. A full offseason would benefit him and the Cowboys. -- Todd Archer

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: There really isn't anyone the Jaguars need to keep around in free agency. The only player you could make an argument for is tight end Marcedes Lewis, and that's only because of his blocking. Lewis caught only 16 passes last season (not surprising, considering the Jaguars signed Julius Thomas), but coach Gus Bradley praised Lewis as one of the team's better pass-blockers. The Jaguars cut their sack total from 71 in 2014 to 51 last season, but Lewis needs to be more productive in the passing game if the team decides to bring him back in 2016. -- Michael DiRocco