Every year, Steeler Nation comes together for the Annual Draft Party to celebrate their favorite football team.

By Ed Skirtich

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Steeler Nation celebrated with music and inspiration at the annual Draft Party at Heinz Field on April 27 from noon to 6 p.m.

The Steeline percussion, the official drumline of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which consists of tenor, snare, tonal bass drums, “boom” drums, and cymbals, rocked the crowd with “Here We Go Steelers” and “Hey Ho, Let’s Go,” along with other great musical hits. Fans
hopped around and clapped to the music.

Vince Wallace, director of Pittsburgh Steeline, pepped up the crowd with his rapid snare drum movements. “The Pittsburgh Steeline plays at all Steelers home games and community functions,” Wallace said.

Craig Wolfley, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard and offensive tackle from 1980 to 1989, was Master of Ceremonies inside the PNC Champions Club. He interviewed the new Steelers draft picks before former Steelers running back Merril Hoge spoke.

Steelers first-round pick, cornerback Devin Bush Jr., second-round pick, wide receiver Diontae Johnson, and third-round pick, defensive back Justin Layne, were delighted by the joyous ovation from the Steeler Nation crowd.

“I’m happy to be part of Steeler Nation,” said Bush. Bush wants to show aggressiveness on defense. “I’m going after the ball,” he said.

Johnson explained his new approach to the position of wide receiver. “I’m going to separate and win at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “I want to contribute early on the inside and outside.” Layne stated he’s ready to go. “I know the angle of the running back,” he said. “I have to be able to identify the running back holes.”

Wolfley introduced Hoge to the large crowd inside the PNC Champions Club. The Steelers
selected Hoge in the 10th round of the NFL draft pick in 1987. Hoge told the crowd how late Steelers head coach Chuck Noll made him both a better football player and a person. Hoge played with the Steelers from 1987 to 1993.

“He was a fabulous teacher,” Hoge said. “Noll gave me leadership and perspective on and off the football field.”

Hoge advised all the parents in the crowd to guide their children to find their passion.

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