Bob Quinn Makes Pitch For Detroit To Host NFL Draft: "The City Would Do An Amazing Job"

2021 is still a possibility.

Will Burchfield
April 28, 2019 - 1:42 pm
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After Bob Quinn finished answering questions Saturday night about the draft just behind him, he was asked one more about those that lie ahead. 

What would it mean to the Lions to host the event? What would it mean to the city of Detroit? 

Quinn acknowledged that's a better question for Lions president Rod Wood, who has lobbied for Detroit to host the NFL Draft before. "But I’ll put on my Rod Wood hat here for just one second," he said. 

The draft, which for a long time was held in New York City, has shifted locations every year since 2016. It's gone from Chicago to Philadelphia to Dallas to Nashville, where this year it drew a record 500,000-plus fans over three days.  Next year it will be held in Las Vegas.

2021 is yet to be determined. 

How about Detroit? 

"If we were fortunate enough to get the draft in Detroit, I think the city would do an amazing job," said Quinn. "I know Rod and the group that they work with on getting the big events to Ford Field and the new downtown area do a great job. I think it would be a great thing for the city. I think it would be a great thing for the team to kind of show Michigan and the city of Detroit for what it really is. People that don’t come here don’t know how great it is. So I think it would be awesome. Let’s get the vote out." 

The Lions put in a bid to host the 2020 Draft, highlighting Ford Field, the Fox Theater and the Detroit waterfront as feature locations for the three-day event. But when the five finalists were announced in February of 2018, Detroit didn't make the cut. Wood said shortly thereafter he would continue to pursue the event: "We'll be right back in the mix on that." 

Nashville drew rave reviews as the host city this year, with some 200,000 fans showing up on day one alone. Country stars Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley performed a pair of free concerts. Fans didn't have to spend a cent beyond souvenirs, food and drink -- even parking at the Titans' stadium and nearby state government lots was free. 

"Hard not to give Nashville an A-plus for this draft," said the NFL's senior vice president of events.

Interestingly, several cities had representatives on hand to study the scene to enhance their own bids to host. Detroit was among them. (Carolina, Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Seattle were the others.) 

Among the hundreds of thousands in Nashville were the parents of T.J. Hockenson. They watched their son get selected by the Lions with the eighth overall pick Thursday night. Quinn knows how much they enjoyed the experience. 

"It’s a tremendous event. I think it’s great for the players. It’s great for the players’ families. Just talking to T.J.’s parents, they’re small-town Iowa people that are pretty humble and they just were wild about the whole thing," he said.