"Press play, watch the tape."
That's what the shirts friends and family members were wearing when the NFL Network cut to the celebration of Florida cornerback Teez Tabor being selected with the 53rd overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the NFL Draft Friday.
The shirt was a reference to Tabor's 4.62 second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine that didn't seem to match what teams saw when they flipped on his game tape from his three seasons at Florida.
View photos of the Detroit Lions' second-round pick, Florida CB Teez Tabor. Photos courtesy of Associated Press and University of Florida.
"It's just something my mom came up with," Tabor said in a conference call after being picked by Detroit. "She didn't like everyone talking about the 40 time, so she just had some shirts made and wanted to make a statement by saying just put on my tape. That's really all it was."
Lions general manager Bob Quinn admitted that Tabor's slow time in the 40 at the Combine, and again at his pro day in Gainesville, forced him to go back and watch more tape on Tabor.
In fact, Quinn said he spent more time watching Tabor's game film than any other prospect he could remember.
"Games that I watched I didn't see him get run by," Quinn said. "So we kept going back. 'Let's watch this game. Let's watch this game. Go back to 2016. Go back to 2015, when he was a young kid playing.'
"I can't sit here and say I've watched every play that he's ever played in, but I watched a considerable amount of games and reps on him and we had a really good workout with him down at the University of Florida. Timed speed is what it is, I take playing speed. That was a more important gauge than timed speed."
Tabor was a first-team All-SEC pick as a sophomore after intercepting four passes (breaking up 14 others) and scoring twice. He repeated the SEC honors as a junior this past season after intercepting four passes and breaking up six more. He allowed just a 43.3 rating on passes in his coverage area in 2016.
When people do throw on the tape, Tabor says they see a kid who "works hard at the game, a kid who studies film, a kid who is a student of the game and they're going to see what type of person I am by my film and how I can carry myself."
Tabor has good size and plays a physical brand of football. But he also has a nose for the football. He had nine career interceptions, three of which he returned for a touchdown.
"I'm just a very smart player," Tabor said. "Very instinctive player. A student of the game, and I think that's going to correlate well to the NFL."
The Lions have a No. 1 cornerback in Darius Slay, but Quinn is trying to foster a culture in Detroit of stiff competition at all positions. Tabor could challenge Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs or DJ Hayden for a job opposite Slay on the outside or for a nickel cornerback spot.