Former Florida cornerback Teez Tabor has seen his draft stock slide because of slow 40 times. This could ultimately make him a second-round steal.
The Cleveland Browns have seen this story before. A standout Florida cornerback looks like an elite draft prospect, then raises questions with a slow 40 time at the scouting combine. This year, the prospect in question is Teez Tabor, a 6-0, 199-pound prospect who looks like one of the draft’s top defenders on film. Yet, he ran the combine 40 in a disappointing 4.62 seconds.
Unfortunately for Tabor, his 40 time at Florida’s pro day was even slower, and this raises obvious concerns.
“The magic number for corners is 4.60. Anything above that, and the alarm goes off,” NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah explained, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.
Tabor came into the draft process looking like a possible first-round pick. CBS Sports’ Dan Brugler lists him as his 37th-best prospect in the draft. However, these slow 40 times seem likely to cement Tabor as a Day-2 prospect.
This doesn’t mean Tabor won’t be a quality NFL player and a longtime starter. Game film suggests otherwise. Over the past two seasons, Tabor has produced 20 passes defended and eight interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns. Pro Football Focus rated Tabor 50th overall among all college cornerbacks last season.
If the Browns trust what they see on tape with Tabor, he could become a quality second-round value target. The team currently holds the first and 20th picks in the second round (33rd and 52nd overall). Cleveland at least seems to have some interest in the former Gator. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal confirms that the team did bring him in for a workout:
#Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker worked out cornerback Teez Tabor on Florida’s campus today, a league source confirmed.
Though an entirely different regime—and even a different owner—were in place at the time, Cleveland has been in a similar situation with a former Florida cornerback.
Back in 2010, cornerback Joe Haden ran a 4.57-second 40 at the Scouting Combine, raising his own questions. The Browns trusted what they saw on tape with him and pulled the trigger with the seventh overall pick in the draft. While Haden’s play hasn’t always been on par with his paychecks, he has proven himself to be a quality No. 1 cornerback when healthy. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler who has lasted seven seasons so far.
This isn’t to suggest that Tabor is sure to have a career like Haden’s, but it does show that pure straight-line speed isn’t necessarily what a draft decision should be based on. Tabor could prove to be a nice addition to the Browns and a valuable one in the second round—especially if Cleveland can land him with that 52nd overall selection.