Teez Tabor shows why the Combine matters

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It’s a common refrain during the Scouting Combine to scoff at the idea that anything meaningful can be gleaned from watching players run and jump in shorts and t-shirts. “The Combine doesn’t matter,” the skeptics say. “Just watch them play.”

Teez Tabor shows that the Combine does matter.

Tabor, the 2017 Lions second-round pick, played and played badly for two years in Detroit and did not make the 53-man roster this year. And Tabor is a fine example of how teams overlook the Combine at their peril.

On the field at Florida, Tabor was a very good player. He was a two-time, first-team All-SEC cornerback. The Lions gushed about how impressive his tape was.

But the Combine told a very different story. Tabor’s 4.62-second 40-yard dash was bad, and his 31-inch vertical jump was even worse. He failed to improve at Florida’s Pro Day.

That should have been a tip-off that Tabor just doesn’t have the athleticism to be an NFL cornerback. The SEC ain’t the NFL, and some players are athletic enough to play in the SEC but not athletic enough to play in the NFL. The purpose of the Combine is not to render film study meaningless; it’s simply to identify some players who look good on film against other college kids but won’t be able to hack it against NFL athletes. Tabor is one of those players.

40 responses to “Teez Tabor shows why the Combine matters

  1. Very true. Size and more importantly speed matter in the NFL. Especially at a position where you are “on an island”

  2. For every good college player that shows slow at the combine and washes out of the NFL, there are mediocre college players that blow up the combine and wash out of the NFL too.

  3. Tabor is a play maker, the Lions tried to make him a man/press man corner in Matt Patricia’s system , put him in zone or cover 2 and let him keep things in front of him so he can react and he will be a very good corner …Tabor & a man scheme is like fitting a square peg in a round hole .

  4. What about guys that have good college careers and good combines and turn out to be bad in the NFL?? How important is the combine then?? Some guys that run a 4.6 40 can blow past some of these guys that run 4.3-4.4. It’s the pros, either you can make the transition to step your game up or you can’t. Simple as that

  5. I was furious the night Bob Quinn made this pick and even more angry about it now that they’ve cut him. The curse of Lions second round draft picks lives on. Look it up, the number busts in round two from Millen to Mayhew and now Quinn is staggering.

  6. Or just why going to the right system matters (conversely, why teams drafting players that fit their system matters)…. dude might actually go ok in a zone heavy scheme.

    Or maybe he’s just a bust. We see them all the time…

  7. Not suggesting anything about Teez but players attending are also going to be drug-tested to NFL standards. Yes NCAA test and their expenditure sounds good, but they cover a lot more players. And colleges don’t anything like enough to stamp it out – see the Clemson debacle.

  8. Jerry Rice reportedly ran a 4.71 40 at the combine and there are plenty of other examples where a player posts unimpressive numbers at the combine, but still ends up being a really good player. Conversely, there are plenty of examples of players posting great numbers at the combine but being terrible NFL players. So yeah, the combine matters, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle and I don’t think it’s fair to say one or two well publicized numbers from the combine are enough to determine whether a player will be successful or not.

  9. No one says the Combine doesn’t matter. They usually say that the Combine isn’t the only thing that matters. Meaning, if a guy has very little production in college, then goes to the Combine and runs 4.30 and jumps 42 inches, doesn’t mean he should go in the first round.

    I also remember, future HOFer Anquan Bolden dropping out of the 1st round because he ran 4.71 at the Combine.

  10. Being from Boston, Mike Mamula from BC is another classic example. But, interviews and medicals are still important. Amazes me it’s televised and people actually watch.

  11. Interesting thought here, but just for contrast, another 2017 NFC 2nd round pick was cut earlier this off season by Green Bay, in Josh Jones. Jones had great combine attributes, but he never put it together for GB. Clearly, there are a lot of factors that go into making a successful NFL player, and many of them are hard to measure, like drive, heart, and football IQ.

  12. There are probably just as many guys who lit it up at the combine and never made any plays on the field.

    Regardless, an even greater determiner of success is the situation they get drafted into, the coaching they get and how they are used or misused at the NFL level. Plenty of examples of a guy failing on one team only to emerge as a star on another when used in a different way.

  13. Just a reminder what a crap shoot the draft is. After all the research and analysis and film watching and workouts the experts in their field still get it wrong….


    You don’t know why Tabor was cut. For all we know, Tabor had the physical skills but failed to grasp the defensive playbook, continually lined up out of position, or failed to properly read the offensive play on the field.

    Jerry Rice ran a 4.71 dash.

  15. As a Lion fan, I am used to them wasting draft picks. Even their best player ever, Barry Sanders, wasn’t their first choice. The Lions were drooling over Tony Mandarich from MSU and were very disappointed when Green Bay selected Tony at number 2 overall leaving the Lions stuck with Barry Sanders as the next choice, number 3 overall in 1989.

  16. mrbigass says: “Just a reminder what a crap shoot the draft is. After all the research and analysis and film watching and workouts the experts in their field still get it wrong…”

    Fans have too high of an expection of draft picks. Every draft pick were great college players – but GMs are drafting based on FUTURE potential to get even better for the NFL level.

    There is no magical formula for that – some kids peaked in college while some guys still have room to grow their game.

  17. Always thought he looked the part of a safety where he would be as exposed. Amazing the Lions lacked the foresight to try something different.

    In Philly we have a cat named Malcolm Jenkins who was also thought to be too slow to play corner.

  18. Chris Harris jr was not even drafted and he is the best slot corner in the NFL. So explain to me again how the combine is important.

  19. A general statement like “combines matter” cannot be made in this case. It’s the freaking Lions!!! They’d draft Chuck Longs brother if a guy on the radio told them to

  20. I think the combine still has value in identifying players who have the potential to play pro football, but no one knows whether their skills are going to translate to the Nfl.In Tabors case they didn’t. But for every Teez Tabor there is a Phillip Lindsay, who didn’t even get invited to the combine … you just don’t know.

  21. I think that is different than saying the Combine does matter. He had a poor performance, someone picked him anyway, he didn’t do well in the NFL. Um…ok.

    But what about the people who light it up, someone picks them, and he doesn’t do well in the NFL. Happens all the time. Who was the last one? John Ross? Career isn’t written yet but sure shows Combine does not translate the way I think the story says it does.

  22. It’s the system that many of the players at the big schools in the SEC play in. If a team has 10 pretty good defensive players, often times it’s hard to see who the stars really are. If the DL is able to put a lot of pressure on the OL and QB and are stuffing the run, the DB’s job is much easier. You need another measurement and a 40 time will tell you something. 4.62 is too slow for DB. I’m curious to see how this most recent Clemson draft class performs in the NFL in 3 years: Ferrell, Wilkens, Lawrence. All D-linemen. Which one will stand out?

  23. As a Gators fan I can confirm what NewYorkLion said, Tabor is a cover 2 guy and he thrives in those situations. I still have my doubts about him being as effective at the NFL level even if he’s in that system, but making him press does him absolutely zero favors.

    That dinosaur Mike Smith did the exact opposite when he was here in Tampa with Hargreaves, he forced a press corner to play guys 10 yards off the line. Only preseason so far, but he’s already looked better under Bowles.

    Sometimes players are just busts, but sometimes coaches and GMs are complete morons who either think they can force any player into their system or are simply too egotistical to even consider system fits to begin with.

  24. Michael your conclusion is inaccurate.

    Teez has stated that he lost his love of the game. He has shown a willingness over the past year and a half to work harder as a professional and that is why they didn’t cut him until now.

    In hindsight, the Red Flag should have been the slower speed he demonstrated at his pro day. This should have alerted Quinn that his desire had peaked and he wasn’t interested in committing to the work to succeed in the NFL. He didn’t care enough at his pro day to even try and look faster. He could have decided not to run at his pro day. He just didn’t care. That was his fault.

    Not recognizing a loss of desire was Bob Quinn’s mistake.

  25. Teez Tabor shows why the Combine matters

    So you found one example of a player having a good season and a bad combine and getting cut by an NFL team, well over the last 20yrs I can show you dozens of examples of players having a good/great combine and being a bust and those are just the QBs!

  26. They only invite a little ove 300 players(less than 10%) to the combine, when they start inviting at least 50% of the 3500 players that are available for the draft then maybe the combine will actually mean something!

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