Top Five Rookies Bengals Will Face in 2015

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May 1, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers first round draft pick Melvin Gordon speaks to the media at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

RB Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

The challenge of dealing with some of this year’s top rookies doesn’t let up heading into Week Two.  The Bengals will face the Chargers in their home opener and will have the privilege of facing arguably the best running back from this year’s draft, Melvin Gordon.

Gordon was an absolute beast running behind the perennially dominant Wisconsin offensive line.  During his final two years with the Badgers, Gordon ran for 4,196 yards and accounted for 44 touchdowns.  Yes, that stat line is extraordinary.  After his dominant senior season, Gordon finished second in the Heisman voting behind Marcus Mariota (and ironically just ahead of Amari Cooper).

With the Chargers, Gordon will enjoy playing alongside a dominant quarterback in Philip Rivers.  This type of passing game should allow Gordon more space to work with when running the ball.  His relationship with Philip Rivers should also be a symbiotic one where Rivers won’t have the onus placed solely on his shoulders.

The Bengals struggled to stop the run last year.  They finished 20th in the NFL against the run and allowed 4.2 yards/carry.  In response to that, Cincinnati acquired defensive end Michael Johnson and defensive tackle Pat Sims over the offseason.  These two players have proven to be effective against the run in the past, so hopefully they’ll help ameliorate the Bengals’ rushing defense.  Cincinnati fans certainly better hope so or they could end up watching their team get torched on the ground yet again when the team opens up Paul Brown stadium for the first time in 2015.

Next: Weeks Nine and 13 versus the Browns