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.