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NFL Draft: Aboushi comes full circle

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:08 pm | Updated: 9:19 pm, Thu Apr 25, 2013.

Oday Aboushi has never been to Radio City Music Hall. Despite growing up some 30 minutes outside of New York City’s iconic entertainment venue, Aboushi simply heard its roars from afar.

He won’t break tradition in the coming days.

Aboushi, a former Virginia offensive lineman, will watch the NFL Draft with his family at his home in Staten Island. When his name is eventually echoed inside Radio City Music Hall, Aboushi will get the full circle feeling.

“It was fun,” Aboushi said by phone Wednesday. “I’d always watch it. I’d always see players go to Radio City to be drafted.

“I won’t be at Radio City, but being in my hometown is good enough for me. Being with my family, it’ll be relaxing — not so much an anxious feeling with all those cameras around you.

“It’s going to mean a lot to finally hear my name called. Right now, it’s just a matter of time, I guess.”

Aboushi is the best bet to extend UVa’s selected player streak to 30 years. He’s a 6-foot-6, 308-pounder who twice earned All-ACC honors. He played tackle for the Cavaliers, but dabbled at guard during Senior Bowl practices. He’s participated in the NFL Combine. He’s visited with the New York Giants, New York Jets and St. Louis Rams.

The Draft begins tonight with the first round at 8 p.m., and will continue with the second and third rounds on Friday evening. It’ll end on Saturday with rounds 4-7.

Where will Aboushi end up?

An NFL.com mock draft has him going in the fifth round to the San Diego Chargers (pick No. 145). CBSSports.com projects him to go somewhere in the fourth to fifth round.

However ...

“I’ve been hearing everywhere from the second to third round,” Aboushi said. “Some teams like me as a second-round pick. Some teams like me as a second- or third-round pick.”

In late February, Aboushi ran the 40-yard dash in 5.45 seconds and did 17 bench press reps of 225 pounds at the Combine. A month later at Virginia’s pro day, his 40 was down in the 5.3-second range and he put up 21 reps of 225.

“I didn’t test as well as I wanted to [at the Combine],” Aboushi said, “but a lot of people were impressed with my game tape so at the end of the day, for a lineman, that’s all that really matters.

“I have that in my back pocket. I’m confident with that. I feel like the sky’s the limit.”

UVa coach Mike London hasn’t been blind to Aboushi’s film, either.

“You turn on the tape and, a lot of times, the tape doesn’t lie,” London said. “One of the things when you watch him play on film, you see an aggressiveness, you see a tenacity, you see an effort that speaks to the level of him playing in the ACC.”

But you also saw the occasional flag.

Possibly a side-effect to that aggressive nature, Aboushi would have his flirtations with after-the-whistle personal foul penalties in 2012 (see a costly 15-yarder on a field goal-scoring drive against North Carolina).

“Obviously, as a coach, you definitely don’t want that,” London said. “We talk about big penalties, particularly post-snap. But I think there’s a matter of maturity for players that are seniors, that are getting ready to move on. There’s a maturity when you go to the next level. Through veteran players and coaching, you understand how important not getting those penalties will be.

“I’m quite sure he’ll be coached that way. I think he’ll do a good job.”

Doing well is what the Aboushi family knows.

Of his nine siblings, there are lawyers, a doctor, a professor and a brother who recently applied to medical school.

Aboushi is the immediate next-in-line to join their successful professional fraternity.

“Just live in the moment, enjoy the time,” Aboushi said of his siblings’ advice. “All the stress that I went through, all the work that I put in, they’ve been there, done that in their respective careers and they’ve put in that kind of work and effort.

“They just told me to kind of enjoy myself and kind of relax a little bit and see where things fall into place. I’m excited for them to be around when I get that call.”

And who knows?

That call could come with a New York area code.

Full circle, indeed.

“It would be a dream come true if I could play for the hometown team,” Aboushi said. “Working out with them, I was a little star struck being around all the Jets and all the Giants players and people like that, but now I’m prepared for it.”

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