Cornerback Teez Tabor’s second NFL season didn’t go how anyone would have hoped in Detroit.
The former second-round draft pick out of Florida began the year in the spring getting some reps opposite Darius Slay at outside corner with the first-team defense. By training camp, he’d been passed on the depth chart by veterans DeShawn Shead and Nevin Lawson. He began the regular season as a reserve, but was forced into some spot starting duties midseason with not very good results. He was mostly inactive to finish the year.
This will be a big offseason for Tabor.
“I think Teez is still developing,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said. “Has Teez played as good as I would’ve hoped? No. I’ll be honest with you, no. I’ve never stood up here and said, ‘I’m going to hit 1.000 percent on my batting average in free agency or the Draft.’ If I did, we’d win every game and we’d be 16-0 going to the Super Bowl.”
The big knock on Tabor coming into the 2017 NFL Draft was his lack of speed. He ran 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine and was worse (4.7’s) at his Florida pro day afterward.
Quinn admitted to the media after selecting Tabor that he watched more college film on him than any player he ever had up to that point in his career to try and identify why the game film didn’t match the timed speed. On just the game film, Tabor looked like a top talent.
Quinn took the calculated chance of selecting Tabor in the second round. It hasn’t panned out so far.
Tabor played in 275 of the team's 729 defensive snaps this past season and allowed an NFL worst 158.3 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks throwing his way. That also included four touchdowns, an 81.5 completion percentage and a 16.9 average yards per reception, per Pro Football Focus statistics.
Tabor has the size, work ethic and football acumen to play the game at a high level. His lack of pure speed, however, has shown up on some long crossing routes and deep routes throughout his first couple years.
“Teez hasn’t probably played as well as I would’ve hoped, but I think there’s still upside there,” Quinn said. “I think he knows what he needs to work on and he had a great attitude all season.”
The NFL is ultimately a results business and that makes this an important offseason for Tabor if he hopes to live up to the potential Quinn saw in him back in 2017.