ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Teez Tabor is bothered by it a little bit. The Detroit Lions rookie cornerback believes he has every reason to be a little bit annoyed about the consistent questions about his speed.
Tabor’s speed has been a question since he ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February. It’s part of what dropped him to the second round in the NFL draft and led his family to wear shirts saying, “Press Play, Watch the Tape” during the draft to explain how his game tape shouldn’t be overlooked by his 40 speed.
Tabor alternated Friday by saying he wasn't worried about the question of his speed but that it also irked him enough that "when you tell somebody they can't do something, you're basically making them try even harder to do what you're telling them you can't do." He believes he played fast on the field and his instincts are at an extremely high level.
“I play football, I don’t run track,” Tabor said. “I’m trying out for the NFL, not the Olympics. So I’m in a pretty good spot.”
How the Lions will use him this fall is not entirely clear yet. While he can play outside or in the slot, Detroit has returning starter Nevin Lawson opposite Darius Slay outside and D.J. Hayden, Quandre Diggs and another 2017 draft pick, Jamal Agnew, in the slot.
Plus, corner is typically one of the harder positions to pick up in the transition from college to the NFL, something seen over and over again with high-level prospects. Even Detroit’s top corner now, Slay, struggled during his rookie season, eventually losing his job to Rashean Mathis and reclaiming it the following year.
He’s been a consistent starter since. So there is a path for Tabor, whether he ends up being a starter or not as a rookie. But the speed question, he figures what he does in the NFL could end up answering that for himself with what he does on the field.
“I’m just a guy who wants to go out here and do anything I can to help the team win,” Tabor said. “Obviously you want to perform at your best and that’s all I’m worried about right now.
“Like I said with the speed, we’ll revisit this topic a couple years down the line.”
Part of the reason Tabor maybe wasn’t at his best during his 40 time was a hamstring injury he’s been dealing with since before the draft, an injury that is still nagging him as he enters organized team activities next week.
Tabor said he’s planning on being fully healthy by the time training camp starts this summer and he was able to participate in Detroit’s rookie minicamp last weekend.
“I’m just working tireless hours in the training room,” Tabor said. “We got great trainers … I’m just working really hard right now. Hopefully I’ll be about 100 percent by the time training camp comes so I can help the team.”