In the next profile of an offensive linemen that could interest the Bengals in the later rounds, we are going to look at a talented player who is performing poorly at the NFL Scouting Combine. Sound familiar?
Today, Virginia left tackle ran a 5.23 40 yard dash. That’s not terrible for an offensive lineman, but it gets worse. Aboushi only bench-pressed 225 pounds for 17 reps, which was the third-lowest of all offensive linemen at the Combine. Starting to sound like Vontaze Burfict without the character red flags?
Aboushi’s tape is better than Burfict’s was, but it is also inconsistent and with fewer wow plays. What Aboushi does offer is fluid movement and a natural understanding of angles to defensive players that can not be taught. So, if Aboushi’s combine hurts his stock, the Bengals would love to get their mitts on him and strengthen him up, considering he has the foundation a 6-5, 308 pound frame that gives him prototypical left tackle size.
Although he often used his leverage very well against defenders, Aboushi’s lack of functional strength kept him from fully utilizing it. Without delivering a stunning initial pop, Aboushi did not immediately gain control of a defender in his blocks, but eventually gained separation and control using his hips to get underneath a defender.
But, considering his bench press reps, his functional strength and hand-power is greater than would be expected.
He does move very fluidly, if not explosively fast, either when playing in space or getting up to block a linebacker at the second level. He understands the angles to make the block and routinely beats defenders to their spots.
When he does run block at the line of scrimmage, his smooth bucket step allows him to easily seal the edge in the zone running game. He also is very adept at the backside blocks in the zone game. When he blocks down on a defensive tackle, he does not always get his feet set and gives up ground due to his strength.
But he has shown a mean streak, playing up until the whistle’s sound is dying out, although he sometimes can take plays off. Maybe that is a conditioning problem. He also has a tendency to freeze his base against defenders, making him susceptible to counter moves while his feet are frozen.
Although that can be fixed, Aboushi is not strong enough to freeze his feet and get off balance. His long arms, which give him an advantage in the leverage game, do help nullify his footwork slightly.
The Bengals could do much worse to catch a guy like Aboushi to groom to replace Andrew Whitworth, especially if he falls into the third or fourth round.