Summary: Florida has been a factory for NFL defensive back talent in recent years, and Tabor will continue that tradition this year. He is likely to be the first Gator defensive back taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, but safety Marcus Maye and cornerback Quincy Wilson should also be selected in the early rounds. Tabor is a very experienced and was one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC over the past few years.
As a freshman, Tabor totaled 31 tackles with an interception and eight passes broken up. He was better in his second year as a starter with 40 tackles, 14 passes broken up and four interceptions - two of them being pick-sixes. The sophomore was a tremendous cover corner on the other side from Vernon Hargreaves. Tabor did hurt his draft stock with a one-game suspension though and followed that up with a suspension to open the 2016 season. Hargreaves said at the end of his final year with the Gators, that Tabor was the best cornerback on the team. In 2016, Tabor notched 33 tackles with four interceptions and six passes broken up.
There is a lot to like about Tabor for NFL. He is very good at running the route and preventing separation from wide receivers in the short to intermediate part of the field. Tabor has quick feet, length, and is put together well. He uses his quickness and athleticism to stay with wideouts in and out of their breaks. That puts him in good position to drive on the ball, and he breaks on the ball extremely hard. That leads to him knocking away and picking off passes. Tabor also has good hands and times his contact well to cause incompletions rather than draw penalties. He is comfortable when the ball comes his direction, so you don't see him getting caught out of position very much in the short to intermediate part of the field.
While Tabor can be a gambler, he has good instincts, and that combined with his ball skills makes him a real threat to picking off passes. Tabor is good at reading plays and the quarterback's eyes to jump routes for interceptions. In his NFL career, Tabor could be one of the more productive cornerbacks in terms of picking off passes. Tabor is flexible to play off man, press man, or zone. He is excellent at defending the underneath part of the field. Some team sources feel that Tabor could be a big nickel as well as starting as an outside corner.
The big problem for Tabor is deep speed. He can struggle when plays get behind him and fast receivers can get separation on him downfield. He gambles and guesses too much, so he is going to need to play with more discipline. Teams have some off-the-field concerns with Tabor and his maturity, but they say he is a bright kid who loves the game and comes alive when talking about football.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, Tabor could go as high as the middle of the first round. He also could slip to Round 2.
Player Comparison: Josh Norman. Sources have compared Tabor to Josh Norman. Both are corners with excellent instincts, a gritty style of play, quality size, and who are battlers. Deep speed is an issue for each as well. Norman and Tabor almost identical in size, too. In the 2012 NFL Draft, Norman was a fifth-round pick. If Tabor pans out in the NFL, he could be a similar style of corner to Norman.
NFL Matches: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Tennessee, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Kansas City, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, New York Jets, New Orleans and Buffalo
There are a lot of potential fits for Tabor in the middle of the first round to early in the second round. In the middle of Round 1, the Colts need another corner to pair with Vontae Davis. Philadelphia, meanwhile, needs some cornerback upgrades. Tabor could be in play for the Eagles in the first round.
The Ravens could use a corner upgrade to go with Jimmy Smith. The Titans' second first-round pick could be a fit for Tabor as they need a No. 1 cover corner for their defense.
In the 20s, Tabor has a lot of potential landing spots. At pick No. 21, the Lions could use a corner to pair with Darius Slay. Miami could consider using the next selection to pick up a corner to pair with Xavien Howard. With the 24th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Raiders could consider some cornerback upgrades after having coverage problems during the 2016 season and letting D.J. Hayden leave in free agency.
Staying in the AFC West, Kansas City could use a corner upgrade across from Marcus Peters. Dallas could also consider upgrading its cornerback talent at No. 28. With the 30th pick, Pittsburgh could use a corner to pair with Artie Burns.
To start the second round, the Browns could consider a cornerback at pick No. 33 if they don't take one in Round 1. Cleveland has Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor, but all good defenses have three corners. Tabor is a good fit for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as well.
Cornerback is a need for the 49ers and Bears. Either team could select Tabor early in Round 2. He shouldn't fall past the Saints if they take a pass-rusher in the first round, but if that happens, the Eagles and Bills would be likely landing spots. Buffalo lost Stephon Gilmore in free agency, and Tabor would be a good value for Buffalo in Round 2.