AC in the AM: Impressions After First Week Of OTAs
May 26, 2017 10:00 AM | Andy Cohen
There was so much to see and dissect with practice open to the media on Thursday for the first time this offseason. The 2017 Draft Class. All those new free agents. Injured bodies finally healed. A new defensive coordinator. And the list goes on.

Sure, there was no hitting, not even a shoulder pad in sight, but that didn't take away from the intrigue of seeing this roster together. Some observations are in order:

• There is all good news surrounding quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Those sprained ligaments in his left knee are fully healed. He actually started feeling 100 percent in late January. There are no restrictions placed on him. He wears a brace on his left knee for precautionary measures. Watching him on Thursday, he looked comfortable in the pocket, stepped into his throws with ease and moved around with quickness and certainty. "Everything feels totally normal," he said afterward. "There are no more check points for me left at this point." And that's a relief to an entire organization.

• I'll never get tired watching Adam Gase work the practice field and the sideline, as he did in Thursday's practice. One minute he'll stand there with a walkie-talkie delivering plays to Tannehill in the huddle, the next minute he'll cozy up to wide receiver Jarvis Landry with a playful smile. He is so engaged, so relaxed, so willing to mix it up with his players.

• The rookie class? All seven were on the field Thursday and all seven are signed, the last to seal the deal was No. 1 pick Charles Harris who made it official on Wednesday night. That's encouraging. That's important. If any of these rookies are to make a first-year impact, they absolutely have to be a part of just about every team related activity. Getting the legalities out of the way gives them an easier route to succeed.

• I heard a lot about how much better, how much more fluid, third-year wide receiver DeVante Parker has been looking in offseason workouts. On Thursday I saw it for the first time. Parker caught at least a half dozen passes racing over the middle, turning it on with a burst that was refreshing to see. It is clear he is in the best shape he has been since getting drafted out of Louisville.

• One of the interesting characteristics of this year's offensive line is the abundance of players who can play either guard or center. Two additions, free agent Ted Larsen and rookie Isaac Asiata, fit into that category. "Always try to stay ready," said Larsen. "You never know where you'll be needed."

• Staying with the offensive line, former No. 1 pick Laremy Tunsil says he's already completely comfortable with his switch to left tackle, his natural position. Some of his teammates are also convinced. "Athletically, " said defensive end Andre Branch of Tunsil, "I'd put him up against any left tackle in the league. He's a veteran in my eyes." Tunsil is an incredible physical specimen. There is no excess baggage on his 316 pounds. His arms look like tree trunks. His legs aren't far behind. You combine those physical gifts with the fact, as he puts it, "I know the whole offensive line inside and out" and his second season potential becomes downright scary.

• And then there was new defensive coordinator Matt Burke, standing in the center of the field, arms folded, carefully watching every moment. He seemed so calm, so calculating. Burke's impact running this defense will be one of the more interesting season-long storylines.

• Nice to see No. 20 (Reshad Jones) back in center field on defense. Everything is different with Jones healthy and in the lineup.

• A couple of other defensive backs also stood out: Third-year cornerback Tony Lippett and rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley each had a Pick 6, which left Gase with mixed emotions since he was calling the offensive plays at the time. He whispered something about "scheming up" to beat Lippett next week. Stay tuned.

• Hard to gauge many of the rookies, but No. 1 pick Charles Harris, a defensive end, impressed some of the veterans with his explosive first step and linebacker Raekwon McMillan, the No. 2 pick, had a couple of nice moments in pass coverage. For the time being, we should measure their progress in small steps.
• And finally, you're not going to find many players complaining about the new and more liberal celebration rules. "The best thing I've heard in years," said Branch, "There will be some good ones. We'll be competing against everyone." Got a feeling this will take creativity to an entirely new level.

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