It didn’t take him that long to go from draftee to drafted, though.
Tabor’s decision to enter the NFL Draft after the 2016 season and skip his senior season seemed to be a foregone conclusion as early as last spring, as the presumed star of Florida’s secondary was widely expected to be a first round pick for much of 2016. But Tabor’s path to being taken in the top 32 picks likely went from paved brick to brick wall after he clocked sub-optimal times in the 40-yard dash at both the NFL Combine (4.62) and Florida’s Pro Day event (4.75).
Despite Tabor’s pleas to scouts and critics to “just press play” and grade him on his on-field performance, rather than his dash digits, it appears that his sedate sprinting did cause him to drop slightly on draft boards. It probably didn’t help that this year’s draft was laden with quality corners — seven went before Tabor in the first 50 picks, including Florida teammate Quincy Wilson — and that there could still possibly be some specter of “character” concerns circulating about Teez, who was cited for marijuana possession in 2014 as a freshman, suspended for Florida’s game with Tennessee in 2015 as a sophomore — reportedly for a failed drug test — and suspended for Florida’s season opener in 2016 after an “altercation” with teammate C’yontai Lewis during fall camp.
In his final season with the Gators, though, Tabor totaled 33 tackles, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), six pass break-ups, one sack, and a fumble recovery. He recorded eight interceptions during his final two seasons in Gainesville, and his three interception return touchdowns during that same period were the third most by an FBS player.
You could say that Tabor slipped into the second day, but he had been pretty widely expected to fall into Friday’s rounds for a few months now. Tabor also found himself a home with the Lions that reunites him with linebacker Jarrad Davis, drafted by Detroit in Thursday’s first round.
We’re sure to hear more from the talented and talkative Tabor, whose draft position might be sending him into his rookie season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.