Narrowing to each team’s biggest NFL Draft miss of the last five years, Bleacher Report landed on a cornerback for the Detroit Lions.
The Detroit Lions have drafted plenty poorly over the years, and they seem to be somewhere in a perpetual state of rebuild all the time. It’s too easy to immediately try to determine best and worst picks in a particular draft class, before players even take the field as rookies.
In retrospective evaluation there usually needs to be a solid sample size. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report set out to determine each NFL team’s biggest draft miss over the last five years (2017-2021). A top candidate probably comes to mind for the Lions pretty instantly.
But here’s who Moton had for the Lions.
"Detroit Lions: CB Teez TaborDraft Position: No. 53 in 2017Former Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn drafted Teez Tabor for Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff, but the 6’0″, 201-pound cornerback played a physical style that also fit well with Matt Patricia, who took over the head-coaching position in 2018.In Patricia’s first year with the Lions, Tabor appeared in 12 contests and started in four of those outings, but he finished the season in a backup role because of his poor performances. While on the field for 38 percent of the defensive snaps, the Florida product allowed a 63 percent completion rate, three touchdowns and a 143.3 passer rating in coverage that year."
Teez Tabor the Lions biggest draft miss of the last five years?
Tabor appeared in 10 games with one start for Jim Caldwell as a rookie in 2017, then 12 games with four starts for Matt Patricia in 2018. He was cut in 2019, and landed on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad. He spent time on the Chicago Bears practice squad in 2020, and didn’t play another NFL regular season game until playing six games last season for the Bears.
In 28 career NFL games, Tabor has zero interceptions (and zero pass breakups, for that matter) and 50 total tackles. The Atlanta Falcons signed him in March.
While that non-football stuff has to be kept in proper perspective, Tabor notably did not test well athletically during the the 2017 pre-draft process. His is a case where those rough testing numbers wound up being predictive of struggles to cover NFL receivers, and enticed by his physical style the Lions seemingly ignored them.
The biggest Lions’ draft miss of the last five years that feels obvious is, of course, cornerback Jeff Okudah– the third overall pick in 2020. But Moton appears to have given him some grace, based on two seasons wrecked by injuries. And even “only” as a mid second-round pick, Tabor fits the bill as a huge draft miss quite nicely himself.