Packers president: Detroit one of three finalists to host 2024 NFL draft

Detroit Free Press

The NFL draft could be coming to Detroit.

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy told Green Bay television station NBC 26 that Detroit is one of three finalists to host the 2024 NFL draft along with Green Bay and Washington.

The Lions have been pursuing the draft in conjunction with the city for several years, and Lions president Rod Wood said last spring he expected Detroit to be “a serious contender” for the 2024 draft.

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Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp is on the NFL’s Super Bowl and Major Events advisory committee, which decides where events like the draft are held.

“We’re still in the mix for that,” Wood said last spring. “Hopefully we can bring that to Detroit and by then everything’s fully re-opened and we can have hundreds of thousands of people downtown.”

After nearly 50 years of anchoring the draft in New York, the NFL began moving the draft among its team cities in 2015.

Since then, the draft has traveled from Chicago (2015-16) to Philadelphia (2017) to Dallas (2018) and Nashville (2019). After a year of virtual drafting due to COVID-19, the draft returned in-person to Cleveland last year.

This year’s draft is April 28-30 in Las Vegas, and the event is scheduled for Kansas City next spring.

Murphy said in his interview the NFL could announce its next round of draft sites at March’s league meetings in Florida.

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The Packers previously bid to host the draft in one of 2019-21.

Wood told the Free Press in 2017 an NFL draft in Detroit could be spread out over “three or four different locations.”

“I think it would be great to host it at Ford Field,” Wood said. “You could get 50,000 people in here and make it kind of a raucous event. I think what’s going on in downtown Detroit with the walkability of going to restaurants and bars and the energy that’s here. Big corporate sponsors of the NFL are headquartered in Detroit. I think the whole renaissance of downtown.

“And then the other two things I think that are really in our favor is the location of Detroit, relative to other NFL cities, because we want to get as many teams here and their fans rooting for the draft, and we’re centrally located, we’re close to obviously all of the Midwest cities, East Coast cities, and then the importance and proximity to college football. Because the draft kind of is an intersection of pro and college football and a lot of colleges want to come and watch the kids that they watched in college go through the draft, coaches want to be here, etc. So I think having kind of the intersection of college football and pro football, and so many players from Michigan and Michigan State and Ohio State, and other nearby colleges. Even the MAC. A lot of guys from the MAC have been drafted, that could be a nice selling point that differentiates us from almost any city.”

The Lions have the second pick in this year’s draft, where they are expected to choose from a group of defensive players that includes pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan and Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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