5 positions the Browns must address this offseason

Johnny Manziel may have run out of time to convince Browns owner Jimmy Haslam not to draft another quarterback.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Surprise, surprise. The Cleveland Browns will have another high draft pick in 2016 after going 3-13 this season. Who will be making the franchise’s No. 2 overall selection is anyone’s guess, but there are plenty of holes to fill. Here are the top five positions the Browns need to worry about when building their draft board or preparing for free agency.

1. Quarterback

Just when it looked like Johnny Manziel was starting to redeem himself, he went and sabotaged his standing with the franchise by skipping an appointment with the team’s medical staff on the final day of the regular season. Whether he went to Vegas in disguise or not, Manziel has proven that he’s not ready for the job and the Browns will once again need to find their quarterback of the future. Josh McCown is under contract for two more seasons, but he’s nothing more than a serviceable bridge to the next signal caller. The Browns need to draft a quarterback at the top of the first round, and they need to get it right for once.

2. Wide receiver

Cleveland has virtually ignored the receiver position in the draft this decade, and it’s showed. Fourth-round selection Vince Mayle, who didn’t even make the roster out of camp, was the highest pick the team spent on a wideout since Travis Benjamin in 2012. Benjamin did have a breakout campaign, but his contract is up. Josh Gordon is eligible to return, but he’s about as reliable as Manziel. Signing Dwayne Bowe was a bust, leaving the Browns with Andrew Hawkins, Brian Hartline, and Taylor Gabriel as their top three receivers. Of course, the Browns wouldn’t be in this predicament if Ray Farmer drafted Odell Beckham Jr. instead of Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick in 2014.

3. Edge rusher

The Browns’ defense was atrocious this season in all areas. Getting things turned around begins with a dominant pass rusher that will likely have to come through the draft since they don’t come cheap in free agency. Brown fans know this after watching the team throw a huge chunk of change at Paul Kruger a few offseasons ago. Whether it is a defensive end or an outside linebacker depends on whoever the next head coach is. That coach should learn from Mike Pettine’s mistake and build a defensive system tailored to his players’ strengths rather than the other way aroound. That would free up the front office to select the best pass rusher on the board rather than one that fits a predetermined alignment. 

4. Defensive line

The Browns need another big body up front to help its hemorrhaging run defense. There may be some solid options in free agency that won’t bust the budget like Jets defensive tackle Damon Harrison. If going the draft route, they should again look for the most dynamic player available rather than one that fits their scheme. If another defensive tackle is the best option, grab him and put him right next to last year’s first-rounder Danny Shelton. 

5. Linebacker

Middle linebacker Karlos Dansby isn’t getty any younger and outside linebacker Paul Kruger is coming off a disappointing 2 1/2-sack season. Last year’s second-rounder Nate Orchard is showing promise but the Browns need playmakers and should target the best linebacker regardless of his ability to play inside or out. If Denver allows either of its inside linebackers, Brandon Marshall or Danny Trevathan, to hit the market, the Browns should make a run at them. 

Can Josh Gordon recapture his dominant form from 2013?

MORE NEWS: Want stories delivered to you? Sign up for our NFL newsletters.