The Detroit Lions double-dipped on Florida Gators with their first two picks of the 2017 NFL Draft. Jarrad Davis was a slam dunk pick that was widely praised by Lions fans, but the selection of Teez Tabor was met with a little more resistance. The Lions certainly needed a cornerback to add to their shaky depth chart, but Tabor was not the consensus best defensive back on the board.
Tabor’s teammate, Quincy Wilson, went just seven picks before the Lions and was a popular choice among Lions fans for Day 2.
But Tabor has plenty of value on his own. Early in draft season, Tabor’s tape had him as a low first-round pick. In his three-year career at Florida, Tabor racked up 33 pass breakups, nine interceptions and 104 tackles. He was a two-time All-SEC defender, and was a second team All-American in both of his final two seasons in Gainesville.
He excels in press coverage due to his big, physical frame (6-foot, 199 pounds). He also has great ball skills and his coverage skills were top-tier in the SEC:
But there are a few major concerns with Tabor and it all starts with his athleticism. Back in March, Kent Lee Platte listed Tabor as a “loser” from the NFL Combine:
Coming into the combine, Teez Tabor was viewed as a click and close type of corner, an explosive athlete who could cover a great distance to a receiver before the ball even arrived. There were some questions about his long speed and if he could cover receivers down the field, but these were mostly ignored due to promising tape. Posting abysmal explosiveness numbers at the combine did nothing to endear teams to the idea of Tabor in the first round and when you throw in a poor showing on both of his 40-yard dashes, you end up with a disappointing day overall.
There are also some minor character concerns with Tabor. To start the 2016 season, Tabor was suspended for both a failed drug test and what was called a “serious altercation” with a teammate.
The Lions needed an upgrade in their secondary after allowing an NFL-record 72.7 completion percentage in 2016. Nevin Lawson, in particular, struggled, but Detroit also had trouble in the slot. Tabor has experience in the slot, but is much more suited to play on the outside.
Overall, this comes down to what you value more: tape or measurements. The guy can play, but will that translate to the next level? The Lions seem to think so.