When it comes to first impressions, the Miami Dolphins certainly appear to have done well with their 2021 draft class.
Three members of that class were named Tuesday to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie, making the Dolphins one of three teams with three selections — along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.
The three Dolphins players selected, of course, were the team's top three picks — Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips and Jevon Holland.
It should be noted that Phillips was selected as a defensive lineman, even though he's listed as a linebacker on the roster — he pretty much was an edge defender.
The Dolphins had one player on the All-Rookie team following the 2020 season, that being defensive tackle Raekwon Davis.
The last time the Dolphins had three players on the PFWA All-Rookie team was in 2008 when tackle Jake Long, defensive lineman Kendall Langford and kicker Dan Carpenter all were recognized.
In selections that should surprise no one, the PFWA Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year was Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons and the Offensive Rookie of the Year was Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
DOLPHINS ROSTER MOVE
The Dolphins added a seventh player to their list of reserve/future contracts Tuesday when they signed former New England Patriots defensive back D'Angelo Ross.
Here's the lowdown on Ross from Editor Mike D'Abate of SI Fan Nation sister site Patriot Maven: "Joining the team as a rookie free agent out of New Mexico in 2019, Ross had been a mainstay on the Patriots practice squad for the past three seasons. However, he recently saw time on the active roster, as the team found itself in need of depth along the secondary. Ross’ versatile style made him a good fit in the Patriots system, possessing the capability of aligning in the slot, as well as on the outside. He also contributed on special teams, on both the kicking and punt teams. Ross should endear himself to Miami’s style, as he moves well laterally, as well as vertically. This allows him to cover the field and keep his offensive targets in sight. The 25-year-old appeared three regular season games for New England, along with the team’s lone playoff game. He finished the year having taken 60 defensive snaps and three tackles."
The other players the Dolphins have signed to reserve/future contracts are RB Gerrid Doaks, WR Cody Core, CB Javaris Davis, T Adam Pankey, T Kion Smith and DB Quincy Wilson.
SEAN PAYTON NEWS FALL-OUT
Eight teams began the team searching for a new head coach, but all that coaching chatter became secondary in the afternoon when New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton announced he was stepping away from the team.
Payton made it very clear this is not a retirement and there aren't many analysts who would rule out a return to coaching at some point, most likely in 2023.
Because of his resume, Payton likely will be in high demand once he does decide to coach again, but the Saints aren't just going to let him walk away without compensation considering he's under contract to them through the 2024 season.
And let's remember that the Bucs gave the Raiders two first-round picks and two second-round picks when they "traded" for Coach Jon Gruden in 2002.
So for those thinking the Dolphins just should get on the horn with the Saints to bring Payton to Miami and have him work his magic with Tua Tagovailoa, it's not quite that simple.
One final note on Payton: The Saints missed the playoffs this season despite going 4-1 in their final five games. Their loss, the one that will become Payton's last with the Saints, came in the Monday night against the Dolphins when COVID crippled New Orleans and Miami left the Superdome with a relatively easy 20-3 victory.
A SHULA ANNIVERSARY
Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of Don Shula's election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Of course, that Shula would be elected the moment he became eligible was a given after he retired (and remains) the winningest coach in NFL history.