Hi! It's Jer. Good morning from Downtown Detroit, where through Saturday it's going to be the center of the football universe.

One of my friends was asking "what's the big deal with the NFL Draft, couldn't this be a Zoom call?" and yes, in theory — the event was much smaller in the past. But the NFL Draft is really about the pageantry and bringing fans of football from around the country.

That's why I call it the "Comic Con of Sportsball." Fandom, coming together, over a common shared passion over a series of days. With food vendors, merch, entertainment, and more.

People start to line up for breakfast at Iggy's Eggies in Capitol Park.

I've already seen a variety of jerseys out here, and even before noon Woodward Avenue was starting to fill up with people.

>> Where are people coming from? AirBnB shared the top 10 cities from where people are booking spots in the city of Detroit for the draft days. The locations are surprisingly (at least to me) local.

Map of top cities by Luciano Marcon.

The top cities are: Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Traverse City, Michigan; Jackson, Michigan; St. Clair Shores, Michigan; New Baltimore, Michigan; Lansing, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Canton, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.

Screens are all over downtown Detroit. Woodward Avenue earlier this morning.

>> It's officially "Honolulu Blue Day" in the state of Michigan. Today - Detroiters and visitors from across the region, especially those planning to be downtown for the NFL Draft, are encouraged to sport their Honolulu Blue threads.

🌇 Tips if you're coming down

Here are a few things to know if you're coming down for the NFL Draft.

🅿️ Get there early. Parking is going to be a premium and your best shot if you plan on driving is to arrive early. There are various shuttles available, too.

📱 You need to register through the NFL One Pass app. There will be security people who can help if you don’t have a smartphone, but if you’re reading this you probably do.

🛄 You’re gonna need a clear bag unless it’s real small, like 4.5in x 6.5 in. And there’s size restrictions on those clear bags, too. See in the app.

💳 The event is cashless. There will be some reverse ATMs to load cash onto a debit card to comply with City of Detroit ordinances requiring businesses and events take cash.

🚊 The People Mover will be basically the only transit that crosses the Draft zone. Buses will be turning around at special spots, see DDOT and SMART for more info - and the QLINE stops at Sproat Street (Little Caesars Arena)

🚶‍♂️ Wear comfy shoes. There WILL be a lot of walking.

⛲️ The fountain in Hart Plaza should be going, and there will be lots of vendors and food vendors there.

🛍️ The lobby space of 1001 Woodward has been transformed into a giant NFL shop, similar to when Wrestlemania was here.

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🦁 What might the Detroit Lions do?

When it comes to the NFL Draft itself, here's where I turn to Fletcher Sharpe, who's way smarter than me at this stuff.

The Lions have a chance to fix their strongest position group via the draft, and also a chance to fix their weakest position group depending on who is available when it’s their time to pick at the draft.

Their offensive line is one of the best in the league, but losing Jonah Jackson will sting a little bit. The Lions might look to take Duke’s Graham Barton. A versatile lineman who is a second team All American, Barton is capable of playing any of the five positions up front and flexibility like that is something that Brad Holmes values tremendously.

The Lions could also take Ga'Quincy "Kool-Aid" McKinstry, a cornerback from Alabama. Known for his big smile and big plays in the secondary, the 2023 first team All American would be a big boost for a secondary that is in transition with a lot of new faces, with enough talent to compete for a starting job on day one.

If either are gone, the Lions could drop into the second round and trade their pick to reevaluate for the rest of the draft. As Lions fans know, Holmes values quality over quantity, so trusting him again will be paramount.

-Fletcher Sharpe

📰 There's more than the Draft happening

🍩 Dutch Girl Donuts is a big step closer to opening. A post on social media says to look for test batches and soft openings next week. The goal is regular hours by Mother’s Day. [Instagram]

🏙️ We have more details on the Hudson's Tower beyond the fact that GM is moving in. It'll cost about $1,000 a square foot for a condo in the soon-to-open Hudson's Detroit. [Crain's Detroit] — And the hotel in the tower will be and Edition, the city's first five-star luxury property. [Urbanize Detroit]

🤖 Detroit is among the metro areas where Artificial Intelligence (AI) could create the most lost jobs, but just 0.5% of job postings in the region involve AI. [Axios Detroit]

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