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Teez Tabor, other corners who could tempt Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS - This is an exceptional cornerback class, something Teez Tabor acknowledged when the Florida star spoke with reporters Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

INDIANAPOLIS - This is an exceptional cornerback class, something Teez Tabor acknowledged when the Florida star spoke with reporters Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Asked if he feels he's the best of the group, which includes his friend and Gators teammate, Quincy Wilson, Tabor brushed such comparisons aside.

"I feel like I'm the best PLAYER in the draft, not just the best corner," said Tabor, who lands at the Eagles' 14th overall position in the first round in some mock drafts.

"I just got a natural knack for the game of football. When you throw on the tape and you watch me play, you can understand why."

This decree was issued just after Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett pretty much nailed down the top position in the draft by running and jumping Sunday better than a 6-41/2, 272-pound man had any right to run and jump, so it was a bold stance, but Tabor has taken more than a few of those.

There was the time he tweeted that college football is "a modern form of slavery." And there's the Superman logo he got tattooed on his chest.

There was his decision to fight tight end C'yontai Lewis in practice, which resulted in both players getting suspended for the Gators' opener last season.

Across the room at another podium, Wilson opined that he and Tabor are very similar. Not much different, in any way. (Some scouts like Wilson more, a stance that could become more popular if Wilson runs well Monday. Other scouts think Wilson lacks top-end speed and might end up playing safety in the NFL.)

"He has his own things he's good at, I have my things I'm good at," Wilson said. "We're just really fun to watch . . . Pick your poison, man. You can't come after him, you can't come after me. Who you feel like throwing an interception to is what it is, on Saturdays."

Wilson was asked if he is as outspoken as Tabor.

Here, Wilson applied the brakes.

"He's pretty outspoken. I think I'm outspoken also, but he's more outspoken, I'd say," Wilson decided.

Sunday, Tabor (6-feet, 199) followed his best-player-in-the-draft proclamation with the message he said he wants NFL teams to take home from the combine:

"That I'm a changed young man. A lot of these teams, they have a report on me about my past, and I just want them to know that I'm a changed young man. I just had some growing pains when I was younger. We all make mistakes in life, but it's never a mistake as long as you don't make it two times. I don't feel like I've made the same mistake twice. That means I learn from my mistakes."

And then, the money quote, from the guy who said college opponents "had to learn the hard way" not to throw at him in 2015 when he was paired with Vernon Hargreaves, who would become the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft:

"I'm a humble young kid," Tabor said. "I'm a humble and hungry young kid right now, who has everything in front of him. I just want teams to know that. My past is my past. It's in the past."

Tabor, who acknowledged failing one drug test and skipping another at Florida, noted that NFL teams seem to need some reassurances about his transformation.

"That's the only types of questions I get in the interviews, is about my past," he said. "I just tell 'em you got to go through growing pains in life. I'm not saying I'm glad I made those mistakes, but they definitely made me the man I am today. I learned a valuable life lesson from those mistakes. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Supposedly, the light came on after last season's suspension.

"That's all I have, is football. That's all I ever had," Tabor said. "When you take football away from me, it's like you took life away from me. Just sitting out that game, just watching, it hurt."

Humbled or not, Tabor often places second among the 2017 corners in analysts' rankings, behind Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore (6-foot, 193), who is such a great athlete that teams don't even seem that worried about the fact that chronic hamstring problems limited him to one season as a starter.

Very close to those two are Washington corner Sidney Jones (6-foot, 186) and Alabama's Marlon Humphrey (6-foot, 197), who is the best tackler of the group, by far. Then there is Wilson (6-1, 211) and LSU's Tre'Davious White (5-11, 192). But the differences aren't considered huge, at least until the corners run Monday. Somebody could draft White first, and Lattimore could end up being the third or fourth corner off the board.

Tabor discarded his given name of Jalen in favor of his childhood nickname. "Formal people use Jalen," he explained.

Tabor is known as an aggressive corner who likes to jump routes and can be had at times by double moves.

"I'm not going to sit back and watch it happen, I'm going to make it happen," he vowed.

(Does any of this sound at all like another corner named Jalen, a favorite of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz?)

Wilson is known for physical play, though not for tackling.

"The main thing I want teams to know about me is that I move like a regular-sized corner," Wilson said. "I know I'm a big corner. Some may think I'm slower . . . but I'm not.

"A lot of people see me as press, but if you really dive in and look at the tape, I can play zone also.

"Some teams have got a question if I can tackle. I definitely am a willing tackler. I make tackles, I miss tackles. That's part of football."

Could the corner-poor Eagles get, say, Tabor in the first round and Wilson in the second, reuniting the guys from Howie Roseman's alma mater in the NFL? Wilson seems to be considered a first-round talent, but NFL Network lead analyst Mike Mayock told reporters over the weekend that he sees "17 or 18" corners worthy of going in the first three rounds, instead of the usual dozen or so. It could be that first-round talent will still be on the board when the Eagles pick in the second round, 43rd overall.

"It's a great cornerback class. It's a class I want to be in, because there's so many corners," Tabor said. "I wouldn't want to be in a class where there's just maybe two or three guys and I would have been the top guy easily. This competition brings out the best in you."