Lions GM Quinn still sees upside in CB Teez Tabor

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
According to Pro Football Focus, Lions cornerback Teez Tabor, left, gave up a reception on 22 of 27 targets this past season.

Allen Park — Bob Quinn believed in Teez Tabor two years ago. And even though it hasn't gone the way the Detroit Lions general manager might have hoped or expected with his 2017 second-round pick, he still believes in Tabor. 

“I think Teez is still developing," Quinn said on Friday. "Has Teez played as good as I would’ve hoped? No. I’ll be honest with you, no. I’ve never stood up here and said, ‘I’m going to hit 1,000 percent on my batting average in free agency or the draft.’ If I did, we’d win every game and we’d be 16-0 going to the Super Bowl.

"I know one thing, that I’m very confident with the decisions that we make about player acquisition. Teez hasn’t probably played as well as I would’ve hoped, but I think there’s still upside there. I think he knows what he needs to work on and he had a great attitude all season.”

No one has ever questioned Tabor's attitude or work ethic. In fact, it has routinely drawn praise from both coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, even after the coaching staff started scratching Tabor from the lineup on Sundays, opting to start undrafted rookie Mike Ford instead. 

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When the Lions selected Tabor out of Florida, there were outside concerns about his speed after a disappointing combine performance. But Quinn put his personal stamp of approval on his draft pick, emphasizing the personal work he'd put into scouting the corner.  

"I probably watched more film on him than any prospect that I could ever remember watching film on because everyone said, ‘Well, he ran real slow,'" Quinn explained last year. "I said, ‘OK, well the games that I watched, I didn’t see him get run by,’ and so we kept going back. ‘Well, let’s watch this game. Let’s watch that game. Let’s go back to 2016. Go back to 2015 when he was a young kid playing.’ I can’t sit here and say I watched every play that he’s ever played at Florida, but I watched a considerable amount of games and reps of him and we had a really good workout with him down at the University of Florida. So time speed is what it is. I take playing speed as a more important gauge than time speed."

It would be unfair to say speed has been the only issue holding Tabor back. Playing sporadically throughout the year after failing to win a starting job this offseason, he allowed a perfect passer rating when targeted in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus, giving up a reception on 22 of 27 targets. 

With a modest $1.31 million cap hit next season, Tabor seems likely to stick on the roster, at least through training camp, regardless of the upgrades the team might make at cornerback this offseason.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers