Detroit Lions cornerback, Teez Tabor
The writing has been on the wall for Teez Tabor for a couple of years now. Tabor has been running with the starters in minicamp and making some plays. The former second-round pick out of Florida has seen more than his share of bad press due to lack of playing time and all the way back to his pre-draft workouts.
Tabor has a total of five starts in his first two years as a pro. We all know that his rather pedestrian sprint times (relative to other professional cornerbacks) have stayed fresh in the minds of Lions fans, as well as general manager Bob Quinn’s assertion that he watched more film on Tabor than any prospect he has ever scouted. As a high draft pick, the expectations have also been high due to the Lions poor depth at cornerback, which he was supposed to alleviate.
This offseason he has seemed to sense what many fans have predicted since he was riding the bench as a rookie, he has a limited amount of time to show that he can play at a high level before he will probably get bounced for another option. All reports have been positive and he seems to really be giving his full attention to coaching and improvement. Whether or not he can beat out the sudden glut of competition is still to be seen, though.
The pecking order starts with Darius Slay, who is holding out for more money, and Justin Coleman, signed this offseason. They are possibly the only two written in stone assuming that Slay plays. If Slay misses time due to his holdout or isn’t ready to play Week One, that helps Tabors path to the final fifty-three man roster.
Mike Ford, has proven himself after being an undrafted free agent last year, amassing twenty-five tackles in seven games with four starts. Nevin Lawson, the primary second cornerback from 2018 was wildly inconsistent and has been let go. Rashaan Melvin, signed this offseason, started seven games last season for the Oakland Raiders and is a candidate for both a starting job and being cut, as well.
Probably safe to receive a spot is Amani Oruwariye, a rookie from Penn State. In the mix as a slot cornerback is Jamal Agnew, who has also been a Pro Bowl punt returner. It doesn’t take much to see that if Oruwariye wins one job, Slay has another, and Coleman has the slot or at times the outside, that there are not many places left for whoever remains.
The unit as a whole has been improved by an influx of speed, a bad omen for Tabor who lacks a great burst or second gear. His salary is another thing that works against him if he doesn’t perform much better than all but a couple of his teammates. Tabor is under contract until 2020 but the Lions could save almost a half of a million dollars by cutting him after June first.
Melvin, likewise, could be cut and save even more money but has more starting experience and is more likely to stick. The situation is in flux and will be among the most intriguing battles of Lions camp. Tabor is somewhere between the fourth to eighth cornerback depending on his play in August against real opponents.
Who do you think could be on the chopping block based off of their salary and cost to the team? Comment below. Follow CoachKirk, @mkirk2 on Twitter for more Detroit and Michigan sports, plus some other random content. Thanks for reading.