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Tabor embracing competition among CBs, against WRs

Detroit Lions rookies finished off their rookie transition program last week with a football camp at Detroit Renaissance High School.

Rookie cornerback Teez Tabor told reporters during the camp that one of the biggest lessons he wanted the young players to take from the camp was that they always must be competing.

"You have to compete," Tabor said. "There's only one way we know how to play football. You have to instill that in them if they really want to go somewhere."

The competitor in Tabor even got the best of him as he jumped into one-on-one drills with the campers.

"I'm out here having fun," Tabor said of getting in on the action. "I feel like I'm playing. Just have fun and you can see when you start to have fun they started to enjoy it a little more and really started to compete."

It's a lesson Tabor lives by and plans to bring to the competition he'll face next month at the start of Lions training camp. That's when he'll begin his pursuit for a role in Detroit's secondary.

There are currently 10 cornerbacks on the Lions roster competing for roughly five or six spots on the team out of camp. Tabor's roster spot among the Top 53 is fairly safe as a second-round pick, but he knows the competition for playing time on defense will be stiff among a good mix of veterans and youthful talent.

The only player securely entrenched at cornerback currently is Darius Slay. The other outside and nickel spots are up for grabs in what's expected to be open competition.

Tabor says the entire cornerback room has embraced the upcoming competition as a chance for the collective unit to get better.

"We have a great room," he said. "A lot of great guys. A lot of guys who know how to play football.

"So, it's a bunch of learning going on in that room right now. It's a group that really wants to get better. I love all the guys and they've just been trying to help us young ones get to where we need to be."

Tabor has not only embraced the competition among his fellow cornerbacks, but also against Detroit's receivers.

He joked after recording an interception in the last open OTA to the media that it was about time he made a play against Marvin Jones Jr., because Jones had made "about 15" good plays against him before that play.

"That helps me a lot," Tabor said of the competition that's developing among the receivers and cornerbacks. "We have a lot of good receivers. Marvin is really fast and really long and will make you look foolish if you don't come with your game. That's amazing when you have a guy in practice, him and Golden (Tate) and all those guys who can really push you – KG (Kenny Golladay) and all those guys – it makes a difference."

There was no bump and run coverage allowed or much contact at all in the offseason portion of practice. The scouting report on Tabor is that he's at his best when he can play a physical brand of ball and compete with receivers.

"I think one of the reasons he's physical and he can be is because he has size and length, so he doesn't get swallowed up by the bigger receivers," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said of Tabor.

"So, he's able to get in there and really mess with them and get his hands on them and play with them a little bit. I know we're not bumping in this time of year, but there's obviously, a little bit of contact at some point. He does a really good job of getting his body in front of the receivers and making it hard for them to get down the field."

Tabor is also known for his ball skills. He recorded nine interceptions while at Florida and defended 28 passes over the last two seasons.  

Where exactly Tabor will fall into the mix in Detroit's secondary will depend a lot on how well he competes and improves when the pads come on and the full scope of his game can be revealed.

Tabor can't wait for the competition to begin.

"I just have to keep working, that's all," he said. "(I'm) not where I want to be yet. It's a lot of work that goes into where I want to be."

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