Florida season review: CBs live up to marquee billing in ’16, leave expected big void for ’17

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The hype and build-up were almost impossibly high for Florida’s cornerback duo this season.

And yet juniors Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor delivered on every bit of it.

While the Gators’ defense dealt with one significant injury setback after another, first through the defensive line, then onto the linebackers and eventually the safeties, Wilson and Tabor were foundation mainstays for a unit that ranks 6th nationally in total defense (298.6 yards per game allowed) and 10th in scoring defense (17.9 points per game).

All the while further legitimizing Florida’s claim to the “DBU” moniker.

The two cornerbacks combined for 7 interceptions and 2 touchdowns through the first six games before it became abundantly clear that any pass in their direction carried substantial risk.

The advanced numbers speak to those points even more clearly.

According to data provided by Pro Football Focus , Wilson led all Florida defensive players with 735 snaps played this season while Tabor ranked second with 649 despite serving a one-game suspension during the season opener.

Tabor carried the larger national profile into the season, but Wilson might have left an even greater impression with NFL talent evaluators. According to PFF, he allowed only 16 catches on 46 passes against his coverage for a 34.8 completion percentage. That ranks 1st in the SEC and 5th nationally. Overall, he allowed 227 passing yards and 1 touchdown against his coverage all season.

Tabor allowed 20 catches on 39 targets for a 51.3 completion percentage, 276 yards and 1 touchdown all season.

Tabor paired his 4 picks with 5 pass break-ups, officially, and scored a 43.3 on PFF’s “rating into coverage” metric to rank 3rd in the SEC and 16th nationally. Wilson finished with 3 interceptions and 6 pass break-ups and had a 31.7 rating on that stat to again lead the SEC and rank 6th nationally.

Gators coach Jim McElwain reiterated Tuesday that none of his juniors have officially declared for the NFL Draft yet, but the general consensus opinion is that both Tabor and Wilson are done in Gainesville.

They will leave with nothing more to prove while leaving with the Gators with a significant void in the secondary.

As we continue our position by position review of the 2016 Florida football season, here’s a further look at the cornerback position in reflection and moving forward. Florida cornerbacks Quincy Wilson, left, and Jalen Tabor. (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Season grade — cornerbacks A I think we covered the reasons why, but to expand, Tabor/Wilson have commented that they feel they’re the best cornerback tandem in the country, and short of an exhaustive film breakdown of every other relevant duo it’s safe to say they at least made a compelling case. Star of the group Nope. Not going to choose between these two. We’ll be more daring in our selections the rest of the way, but Wilson/Tabor are co-stars in every regard.The best summation of their impact this season, of course, came in that Week 7 win over Missouri when Tabor returned an […]