Former Georgia offensive lineman Tyler Catalina earned his spot on the Washington Redskins' final roster after entering the league as an undrafted free agent.
As NFL rosters became finalized over the weekend, many players anxiously waited to hear of their fate for the 2017 season.
For Tyler Catalina, the risk of not reaching the NFL regular season might have been higher than most. Catalina, an undrafted rookie out of Georgia, was relieved to find out that he had been chosen for the Redskins' final 53-man roster.
"It's an unreal feeling, it's every kid's dream growing up," Catalina told Redskins.com. "Undrafted, not knowing coming into camp, just battling for a spot and finally getting told I made it, it still feels like a dream."
Though he is listed as a guard, Catalina said he feels he can play anywhere and believes that's where his value comes from. For him, there's nothing more important than being versatile.
"It's huge. 'The more you can do,' that's all [assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan] preaches," Catalina said. "The more you can do around here the longer you'll stay. If you can play every position, that means you're wanted."
Catalina's journey to the NFL can only be describe one way: humble.
In high school, he helped lead the Wachusett Regional to two championships and a perfect season in 2010. He also participated in the school's baseball, basketball and track and field teams. Catalina would later discover the worth of becoming a diverse athlete.
From high school, he journeyed to Rhode Island, where he made a splash in the FCS after redshirting his first year. As a right tackle, he started every game for the Rams in 2013 and only got better heading into his sophomore and junior seasons.
After three years with the Rams, Catalina was hungry for more. He turned his eyes to the Southeastern Conference, home of the best teams in college football. Catalina transferred to Georgia as a graduate student and started right away.
The increased speed and toughness of the SEC caught Catalina and his fellow offensive lineman off guard, and the Bulldogs struggled through the 2016 season, limping to a 9-7 finish. However, his talent did not go unnoticed.
With his NCAA eligibility expired, Catalina set his sights on the NFL. While he did not get the fateful phone call during the draft, he was eventually signed by the Redskins.
"That's been my story my whole life. I've always been underrated from going to Rhode Island to Georgia, and then going undrafted. I've always had the chip on my shoulder," he said.
From there, it was up to Catalina to prove he was worthy of making the cut.
"I'm a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none," Catalina said. "I'm just trying to stick around here for as long as I can, help this team out as much as I can, play anywhere they need me. That's my goal every day and I've got to work on it,."
Catalina credited the efforts of Callahan, who he said pushes his lineman every day and expects constant improvement.
The Redskins' youngest offensive lineman said he was optimistic for the future, and seemed determined in his journey help in any way he can, from any position he can.
"It doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish," he said. "I'm going to come in here, work hard every day and just try to make this team better."