His hard work during training camp made him a starter at right tackle – a position he did not relinquish the entire season. He was the only offensive lineman to play in every snap on the year.
But before the NFL Draft, Shane Olivea had his own anxiety to overcome.
"When the draft comes, you are so nervous," Olivea said. "It's not like when you are coming out of high school and can decide where you are going. Someone else decides your fate.
"Basically after the fourth round, I stopped watching the draft."
Olivea injured his pectoral muscle at the Ohio State Pro Day just before the draft. Although he had aspirations of going in the fourth round, he was dropped by many teams who did not have a clear picture of his return to the game.
With pick 204, the Bolts selected Olivea, a three-year starter at right tackle for the Buckeyes.
Although Billy Crystal attended his high school, Olivea dropping like a rock was no joke.
"If you would have asked me that last April, I was like, ‘man, this sucks. I got drafted in the seventh round. I am not making the money I want. I am going to a team that hasn't won in nine years.'"
Olivea made it his mission to prove all the doubters wrong. After working hard in the offseason to bring his weight down and a nutritional program going strong, the former high school wrestler delivered in training camp. Staying late and arriving early, Olivea put the work in and was rewarded.
Looking back, Olivea sees it as a blessing.
"I really feel I was supposed to be in San Diego and supposed to be drafted where I was. Things worked out," he said. "I have always believed that things happen for a reason. It may not be the best situation to start out with but in hindsight this was the greatest situation for me.
"The glass is not always half-empty. Sometimes it is half-full. Things will work out the way they are supposed to be. Keep your head up."
As for his advice to prospects this weekend when the NFL Draft is in full swing:
"Speak to whoever you have to speak to on draft day. Keep the phone calls short and whatever happens is meant to happen."
The message is the same. It doesn't matter where you are drafted, or if you are drafted at all. When the lights are on, put your best foot forward and perform to the best of your abilities, leaving nothing behind. Who knows? You could be the starter all season long if you put in the effort.
Not when you are drafted but what you do after
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