Bruce Arians: Robert Nkemdiche ‘bench-pressed a lineman already’

“If I get fined,” Arians told Nkemdiche, “I’m taking it out of your check.”

Though Nkemdiche owned the physical skill set to be a top-10 pick — evidenced by his habit of bench-pressing human beings — off-field concerns and inconsistent production at Ole Miss caused his fall on draft day. The Cardinals eventually took Nkemdiche with the 29th overall pick in the draft.

CBS Sports Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco approved of the Cardinals’ risk to draft Nkemdiche, giving the team an A grade for the decision. Along with fellow newcomer Chandler Jones, Nkemdiche should upgrade a defense that failed to generate much pressure without the help of blitz packages last season.

Friday night at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees were humbled byChris Sale and the White Sox, losing the series opener 7-1 (box score). The Yankees went into the game winners of five of their last seven games. Sale shut them right down.

Young right-hander Luis Severino was tattooed for seven runs in only 2 2/3 innings of work on Friday. Even worse, he left the game after grabbing at his elbow while talking to the trainer on the mound. You can see video of the injury right here.

Is this an exercise in futility? Quite possibly.

But that’s what May is for. In a sport in which half a year passes between meaningful games being played, where the offseason is longer than the actual season and, all the while, America obsesses over each and every transaction, well, hell, I figure it’s never too early to throw out a quasi-informed opinion or two. So while I’m not stupid enough to go all out and predict wild-card teams and a Super Bowl result and all of that, I am just dumb enough to try to wade into each division and give a glimpse into how I see it going. Because, again, it’s May and all.

That’s right: He wasn’t spelling Carl Crawford against a lefty like usual. In fact, he wasn’t facing a lefty at all. Both of his home runs came off right-handed hitters, bringing his total to six in 72 at-bats.

He’s up to 11 in 194 at-bats for his career, and because Carl Crawford isn’t setting the world on fire against righties, manager Dave Roberts is open to making a more permanent change in left field, confirming that Thompson would be starting there against another right-hander Tuesday.

“He definitely deserves a little more playing time,” Roberts told MLB.com

So would I stash him? Well, no — at least not in standard mixed leagues — but then again, I wouldn’t say I’m ready to turn back to Manaea either. Chris Towers and I debated this subject last week, when Manaea was coming off his disaster start, and my position holds.

To put it another way here, I believe most every league has more players thatshould be rostered than actually can be rostered. That last layer of rosterables — the “fringies,” as I like to call them — is so deep and has so much elasticity that your best chance of wrangling the true breakthroughs is to cast a wide net.

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