Football is a weird sport and it frankly takes a special type of person to play it, let alone be good at it. Along with having great size, athletic ability and technique, there is something that cannot be measured at the combine and that is a player's mentality. Football players on both sides of the ball need a certain lack of self preservation and headiness in order to succeed on a regular basis. Some of the best players in the league are the quarterbacks who while deliver strikes with defenders breathing down their neck, running backs who aren't afraid of contact and defenders who will stick their nose into anything... Those football players epitomize a wild and rare mental makeup, but composure that can win football games. Basically, you need players who are a bit crazy.
Teez Tabor is a lotta bit crazy.
Florida's six foot, 210 pound cornerback has been in the shadow of Vernon Hargraves his entire career. Hargreaves was a star recruit and was one of the best players in the country during Tabor's first two seasons as a Gator. Luckily, Tabor can get all the spotlight now that Hargreaves has left for the NFL, a first round pick for the Buccaneers. Tabor is now "they guy" in the Florida secondary and just like he has done in years before, he is impressing.
While Hargreaves was a smaller, athletic and more cerebral corner with great technique, Tabor is a bit more of a project. The six footer has prototypical size for a cornerback and his athleticism is very good, maybe even excellent. Tabor does a great job getting physical at the line of scrimmage with receivers and his aggressiveness as a press corner can either completely take receivers out of a play, or take himself out of a play. He can play cornerback more like a wrestler sometimes than an actual football player, lunging for receivers and allowing them to release clean, but if he makes contact, he can completely disrupt the timing of the play. In coverage, Tabor is at his best running in man coverage. He does a great job staying inside the receivers pocket and his combination of length and speed make him very difficult to just blow by. With the ball in the air, Tabor does an excellent job getting his head turned around and can often make a play on the ball.
His aggressiveness can lead to being too grabby, taking risky angles in coverage or as a run defender, though he certainly can make an impact as a tackler. Tabor does not look as great when he is asked to sit back in zone and come forward to defend, rather he is better when just asked to run with the receiver and cut down on the amount of diagnosing he has to do.
There is a duality to Tabor's personality. On the field, he is a firebrand that can get into receivers heads and exude a contagious confidence that can bring swagger to a football team. However, there is a lot of evidence to suggest his unique personality does not stay on the field. Teez Tabor, formally Jalen, has had many issues with drug tests at school, including an instance where he flat out refused to take one all together. There is a lot of risk to Tabor's personality and certainly something that will need attention come time for draft season.
Tabor reminds me a lot of Minnesota Vikings cornerback, Xavier Rhodes. Tabor has all of the tools needed to excel at cornerback, including a tough, physical mentality. He does his best as a press man cornerback, but has the upside to become an all around impact defender. For the Eagles, he certainly fits the attitude that Jim Schwartz would want on the unit, but his rawness in his ability to play off man coverage, a staple in Schwartz' defense, hurts his projection here. However, if he tests well and can prove that he can mature in the NFL, Tabor absolutely has the resume of a player you take in the first round of the NFL draft.