A Detroit Lions veteran says he sees a lot of himself in rarely seen 2017 second round selection, rookie defensive back Teez Tabor.
The Detroit Lions took a risk when they drafted Florida defensive back Teez Tabor in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Once touted as a possible first round selection, Tabor tumbled down draft boards following a disastrous showing at the Scouting Combine and his pre-draft workouts earlier this year.
A lack of speed was a huge concern when the Lions made the 21-year old defender the 53rd overall selection in this year’s draft. Tabor ran a pedestrian 4.62 forty-yard dash and posted a 31.0 inch vertical at the combine. And according to NFL.com, some scouts were concerned with his off-the-field issues and attitude, reportedly labeling him a high-maintenance prospect.
But Tabor’s production at Florida is undeniable. During his three seasons with the Gators, he recorded eight interceptions and 28 pass defends to go along with a total of 104 tackles, 11.0 tackles for a loss and 4.0 sacks. Tabor also had three defensive touchdowns during his final two years in college.
The Lions knew what they were getting into when they drafted the falling star in the second round. Detroit didn’t have an immediate need for Tabor at cornerback with starters Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson already in place. Throw in D.J. Hayden, Jamal Agnew and Quandre Diggs for depth, and some questioned why the Lions even drafted the Florida prospect in the first place.
But Hayden signed just a one-year deal in March. And this is the final season of the four-year deal Lawson inked back in 2014. It’s unclear if either player will be retained following this season. That clearly plays into the Lions’ plans to slowly bring Tabor along, who might as well be considered a developmental project despite his draft status.
The simple fact is, because of their current depth at the position, the Lions can afford to take their time bringing Tabor along. And so far, one veteran Pro Bowler in Detroit’s defensive secondary see’s a lot of himself in the rookie.
"“[Tabor’s] kind of like me,” Glover Quin told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week. “He’s not a super fast guy and when you’re not a super fast guy you understand and learn at a young age that you have to rely on technique, you have to rely on being smart, you have to rely on all those things. And that’s what he does well.”"
Having posted 46 total tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown through the first nine games of this season, Quin has been one of the best free safeties in the entire NFL. And the 31-year old is likely the Lions’ defensive MVP. If Tabor can become another Glover Quin in Detroit, I’m sure fans would be all for it.
For now “Teez” Tabor will remain just that in Detroit … a tease. The second rounder has seen a total of 14 defensive snaps in his first nine games as a professional. But that’s the team’s fault more than the rookie’s. This organization is doing what they believe is best for the first-year defender. And because of their current depth at the corner position, there is no need to rush his development.