Florida Gators cornerback Jalen “Teez” Tabor entered his junior year in Gainesville as one of the top overall defensive back prospects in the nation, but has quickly been slipping down draft analysts’ big boards in recent months, especially after posting some disappointing 40-yard dash times at both the NFL Scouting Combine and the Gators’ pro day.
After recording a 4.62 second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Tabor posted a 4.75 second 40-yard dash at Florida’s pro day on March 28, but now says a lingering hamstring injury was the cause of his slow times.
“Teams have been shocked that I ran that slow, because they know I don’t play slow — they watch the film,” Tabor said, via NFL Network. “It’s ridiculous. I just want to let everyone know what was going on.”
The Gators corner, who said he was the “best overall player in the draft” at the Scouting Combine, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that he had “tweaked his hamstring during training” shortly before the combine and that “it never fully healed.”
“I’m not the type to make excuses,” Tabor said. “I just wanted to show teams what I’m about. I probably went about it the wrong way, trying to be a knucklehead.”
The 6-foot, 199-pound cornerback switched trainers following the combine, and tried to focus on getting his hamstring fully healed before Florida’s pro day. That clearly didn’t happen, as Tabor not only posted a slower time but re-aggravated his hamstring injury in the process.
“I was trying to be a tough guy because that’s how I am. I was afraid if I didn’t run, people would think I’m soft,” Tabor said. “Then I went out during a workout with the Lions and pulled it even worse. They’re the only team that really knows. It’s still bad now. I probably won’t even start running again for three weeks.”
While many will look at Tabor’s comments as an excuse, there is no doubting the talent he will bring to the next level. In three seasons in Gainesville, Tabor amassed 104 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 28 passes defended, eight interceptions, three defensive touchdowns, and four sacks.
“Turn on the tape and see me running step for step with 4.3, 4.4 guys in the SEC — Malcolm Mitchell and Reggie Davis at Georgia, Josh Malone at Tennessee, guys like that,” Tabor said. “Everyone I’ve visited with said they really don’t care about that, I play faster.”