In what is considered a deep cornerback class, Teez Tabor may wind up being the first one to come off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft…
Teez Tabor, a 2014 five-star recruit, started 26 of 37 career games for Florida. He finished his college career with 76 tackles, nine interceptions and 28 pass breakups while playing for three different head coaches and three defensive coordinators.
Tabor has been suspended on multiple occasions. He missed the 2016 season opener against Massachusetts for fighting with a teammate in practice. He also sat out a 2015 game against Tennessee for refusing to take a drug test. In 2014, Tabor was cited for drug possession, however was not suspended during the regular season.
The junior cornerback possesses a solid combination of size and speed on an athletic frame with long limbs and very good athletic ability.
Weight: 201 lbs
From press coverage, Teez Tabor displays very good athletic ability with fluid hips to bail and change directions. From off coverage, Tabor begins his backpedal with a good angular body position. He demonstrates a good understanding of routes and diagnoses pass plays quickly. He maintains a semi-trail position on inside routes and mirrors the receiver closely to force tight windows for the quarterback to place the football.
When playing man off coverage or zone, Tabor displays elite agility and a very good plant and drive creates an explosive change of direction to the point of attack.
An example of this can be seen in the play below as Tabor quickly closes on the receiver coming across the middle. When the receiver heads back to the outside, Tabor plants his foot in the ground and changes direction very quickly without allowing the receiver to create any separation.
Tabor possesses solid mental processing skills after the pass is thrown, as he decides whether or not to make a play on the ball. He tracks short to deep balls well, and displays very good play speed to close from a wide zone. Elite ball skills allow Tabor to breakup passes and come away with interceptions.
Here, Tabor displays very good awareness as he comes off his man to knock away a pass intended for another receiver. He takes a chance on this play with no safety to help if he gets beat deep, but Tabor takes a good angle and is able to high point the ball and knock it away from a 6-foot-5 Auden Tate.
Once the ball is in his hands, he exhibits solid awareness as he looks to score. Three of his nine career interceptions were returned for a touchdown.
Teez Tabor displays marginal line of scrimmage skills as he struggles to disrupt the receiver from press coverage. His feet are not anchored and he is unable to deliver a solid punch to throw off the timing of the route. From off, his aggressiveness can be taken advantage of with quick screens and throws into the flat. He takes adequate angles on those types of throws as he attempts to undercut the route in an attempt to intercept the pass.
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In man coverage, Tabor lacks the functional strength to win one-on-one battles with larger receivers. The jump balls aren’t an issue, however he is easily boxed out by receivers running crossing routes over the middle of the field. This was evident when he was one-on-one with Laquon Treadwell in 2015 and Auden Tate in 2016. Receivers who know how to take advantage of their size and length have been able to prevent Tabor from making a play on the ball.
Tabor is an adequate open field tackler who does not keep his head up when tackling. Rather than looking at his target, he puts his head down and attempts to cut down the ball carrier. His inability to finish the play results from not wrapping up the receiver or running back.
Tabor demonstrates poor run support skills from the time the ball is snapped until the whistle is blown. He allows receivers to get inside his pads almost immediately and does not possess the play strength to disengage. As a result, he is unable to force the ball carrier inside and gives up the edge too easily.
Even when he isn’t engaged with a receiver, Tabor gives up the edge by taking poor angles to the ball and throwing himself at the feet of the runner rather than square up and try to tackle. NFL-caliber backs such as Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook will take advantage of that every opportunity they get.
Overall, Teez Tabor is a starting cornerback in the NFL who wins with instincts, athletic ability and ball skills. He’s not someone who should be asked to press at the line of scrimmage.
In terms of scheme, Tabor can play any type of man coverage, however he’s limited in zone. While his closing speed would allow him to succeed in a Cover 3 or Cover 4 zone defense, he’s not skilled enough against the run to survive in a Cover 2 zone from the flat.
Tabor’s ball skills are as good as any cornerback to enter the NFL Draft over the past few years. He may also be the most aggressive CB in this year’s draft. His aggressiveness is certainly a plus, however the team that drafts him will have to accept the fact that opponents will take advantage of his style of play and burn him with quick throws to the flat and double moves.
Ultimately Tabor is going to be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, however his limitations against the run and off-field issues will prevent him from being the first CB selected. That honor should go to Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey.