According to a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Tabor signed with the 49ers on Monday. As Rapoport says, Tabor will be heading to the team’s practice squad after the move.
Tabor, who played for the Florida Gators in college, came into the NFL as a much maligned prospect before he even made a professional roster. Many questioned his speed and playmaking ability after a tough performance at the NFL Combine. Detroit never wavered in making him an early round pick, however. General manager Bob Quinn stood behind the pick and explained it would take time for Tabor to develop. On the surface, he seemed committed to making the move pay off over time.
Once in Detroit, Tabor struggled to see the field in a major way. He was unable to earn many meaningful reps with the Lions as a rookie, and was beat out by other veteran options on the team. Then head coach Jim Caldwell frequently sat him as an inactive player on game day. Consistently, Tabor found a way to make plays in practice during the offseason, but could not put his best foot forward and lock down a starting role for the regular season.
During the 2018 year, Tabor struggled when he saw limited action during regular season games with the Lions, only putting up 28 tackles on the year. He struggled to make an impression on Matt Patricia and Detroit’s new coaching staff. He was known more for the plays he didn’t make with the Lions as a result. When the team added Rashaan Melvin, Amani Oruwariye and Justin Coleman this past offseason in both free agency and the draft, the writing was on the wall that his time was probably up. Detroit made the move to slash him from the roster prior to the 2019 season during roster cutdown time.
In San Francisco, John Lynch will be banking on Tabor being able to rediscover some form on the practice squad and perhaps hang around long enough to push for some type of role on the team in need be. At the very least it represents a chance for Tabor, and it’s one he did not have previously after his opportunity with the Lions expired.
To date, Tabor has only contributed 42 total tackles in the NFL and no interceptions. Known as a more rugged cover corner, the hope was Tabor’s physicality and height would help him at the next level. That never materialized in Detroit, but the chance always exists for Tabor to shine elsewhere in time if he is indeed a late bloomer.
The 49ers could always try to turn Tabor into a safety, something which the Lions were not committed to doing this offseason given the depth at that spot on their roster.