The 2017 NFL draft hats are faithful to the tradition of the genre, in that they are really weird.
It’s the most overlooked ritual of the NFL draft’s first round: After the phone call with team personnel but before the tearful Roger Goodell man hug on stage, every player selected is given a hastily-printed jersey of his new team ... and an ugly hat.
New Era has released this year’s On Stage 59FIFTY hats that draft picks will be wearing during Round 1, and they are nothing if not loyal to a long history of unorthodox designs within the genre. The product description page touts an “oversized wraparound team logo” on a “metallic faux leather visor”, and as you will see below, that choice has yielded mixed results.
If you want to look like your team’s first-round pick, you can purchase the draft night hats of all 32 teams here. Below, we ranked the 10 best and 10 worst lids.
You’ll notice a theme here: Most tight-angle shots of the main logo are folded over the brim in a way that makes it really hard to tell what you’re looking at without checking the emblem right above it. This one at least gets the horse’s piercing orange eye centered. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
I’ve always admired how committed the Bengals are to the tiger stripes. This brim/emblem combo embraces this year’s weird format just enough to make it work. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Sure, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s on the brim, but at least there’s a nice cross-section of Miami's unique official colors here. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
That single red eye blown up five times its original size is delightfully creepy. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
I don't know how L.A. got off so easy, but coming away from this process with nothing but your traditional logo and “Chargers” spelled across the brim is a net positive. (The underside of the brim is another matter.) Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
The accentuated mane and fangs that the Lions added in 2009 are the types of details this hat design was made for. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Giant midnight green eye on a bird of prey: pretty cool. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Giant action green eye on a bird of prey: even cooler. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Which side of the bill is sharper, the straight-on skull standing alone on the top or the crossed swords underneath? Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
If it were up to us, the entire hat would be teal. As is, the accents help make the best of a bad situation. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
With the bear’s jaws hidden under the brim, the vibe we’re getting from the eyes is a little less menacing roar and a little more existential dread. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Turns out the letter “G” doesn’t look like much when split latitudinally. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
The bill doesn’t really look like a star, but at least it doesn’t really look like anything? Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Houston’s asymmetrical logo was always going to be a tough assignment for the designers of this hat. Should they have centered the design on the bull’s star-shaped eye? That’s supposed to be an eye, right? Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
I don’t know what that oversized fleur-de-lis on the brim looks like, but it does not look like a fleur-de-lis. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
I am realizing for the first time how close the Giants’ font is to the tiny letters on M&M’s. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Just ... no. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
Not a single letter on the top of the brim is 100% legible. Great work, everyone. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
There’s gotta be a reason why the silver-and-black shield didn’t get the super-close-up treatment, but I’m having trouble figuring out what it could be. If you’re going to zoom in on any NFL logo’s facial features, you have to zoom in on the eye patch, right? Available at Fanatics, $39.99.
1. The NFL shield
Who is the target market for this? Big fans of the officials? Although if Roger Goodell walks out to announce the first pick wearing one of these, all is forgiven. Available at Fanatics, $39.99.