Player capsule: Cohl Cabral
Position: Offensive lineman
Weight: 286 pounds
2016 season quick review: Cabral arrived on campus last fall as one of the most physically mature freshman linemen the Sun Devils have signed in the last decade, which expedited his development and allowed the Sun Devils to play Cabral during his first year in the program. Though Arizona State would have assuredly been better served over the long haul by redshirting Cabral, the Rancho Cucamonga, California native served as Evan Goodman's backup at left tackle and earned consistent playing time as an additional offensive lineman in the Sun Devils' "Sparky" package. Cabral spent much of fall camp working at center, but demonstrated the versatility to fit in at any spot on the offensive line before ASU ultimately elected to convert him to tackle.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: Much like the vast majority of teams around college football, ASU is constantly searching for longer, rangier offensive linemen capable of handling speed rushers at the line of scrimmage to play offensive tackle. In Cabral, ASU feels as though it has the potential to insert one of its most athletic offensive linemen into the lineup at the left tackle position with the goal of Cabral becoming an All-Conference-caliber player on the quarterback's blind side.
While he's just a true sophomore, Cabral is one of the most fluid athletes on ASU's offensive line and has demonstrated the necessary movement skills to hang with speedy and powerful edge rushers. Though Cabral isn't necessarily long enough to play the left tackle position in the professional ranks, he's the best overall option on ASU's roster because he has high hips, a natural kick step and the speed to neutralize opposing rushers.
Cabral has massive upside as a collegiate tackle prospect because he's extremely flexible for his size and he bends and fires out of his stance well. If ASU had a wealth of options at tackle, there's no question ASU could use Cabral at guard or center, but because the Sun Devils are so limited at the tackle position, offensive line coach Rob Sale will depend on Cabral to hold the edge.
One of the downsides of ASU needing to rely on Cabral so heavily so early in his career is that he'll likely experience growing pains until he adds more heft to his frame. Over the next year, Cabral will need to get bigger, stronger and more physical, but he'll have to do so while learning on the job because he's already the most capable left tackle on ASU's roster.
As a result of his youth and inexperience, Cabral may struggle against the conference's elite pass rushers, and could encounter difficulties against faster edge rushers because he doesn't have many in-game reps to build upon as a pass protector. Additionally, Cabral will need to become more aggressive with his punch in the run game, and work to use his hands to his advantage. Because he can fire out of his stance easily, Cabral has impressive potential as a run blocker, but he's not yet at the point where he's ready to dominate his opponents physically.
Much of the success of ASU's offensive line this season will likely depend on how well Cabral acclimates to challenges he'll face in the Pac-12. If Cabral proves he's a quick learner and isn't overmatched physically, it will instantly improve ASU's offensive capabilities in both the pass and run games.
Projected depth chart status: Cabral emerged as the odds-on favorite to win ASU's left tackle job at the start of spring ball, but even though he performed well and impressed first-year offensive line coach Rob Sale, there aren't many options on ASU's depth chart capable of challenging Cabral for the job if he struggles. ASU will be best served by throwing a variety of pass rushers like Koron Crump, A.J. Latu and Malik Lawal at Cabral during fall camp and letting him gain as much experience as possible, because it's very possible the Sun Devils will be forced to let Cabral sink or swim on the field this year.