c.2015 New York Times News Service

c.2015 New York Times News Service

If Emily Blunt’s harried assistant in “The Devil Wears Prada” perfectly embodied fashion’s standard approach to looking one’s best when she bragged about being just a stomach flu away from her goal weight, D.J. Humphries proves that football has the opposite problem.

At 6 feet 5 inches and 307 pounds, the Florida offensive tackle, selected by the Arizona Cardinals as the 24th pick Thursday night at the NFL draft in Chicago, was one of the larger players in the draft. Becoming one was his goal for much of the past season.

Humphries gained the weight on a diet that obliged him to eat so much that he got “agitated,” as he told a television reporter, when contemplating the size of meals he consumed every four hours while trying to bulk up from a relatively svelte 280 pounds. His daily caloric intake, as he explained, was 5,000 calories, roughly what a Vogue assistant consumes in a week.

Even with his new refrigerator silhouette, Humphries managed to look natty in a gray dinner jacket with a black shawl-collar lapel and a pair of velvet pumps he claimed to be “kind of digging.”

Sports stars in general are digging fashion lately, looking beyond their careers on the professional field even as they begin them. They are becoming increasingly mindful of such things as the sneaker contract that helped vault Michael Jordan to billionaire status; the style savvy that turned NFL players like Victor Cruz and Colin Kaepernick into GQ cover stars and darlings; and canny design collaborations like the one the NBA star Russell Westbrook recently entered into with Barneys New York.

More than one player Thursday referred to himself as an athlete entertainer. And fashion, as we know, has become a potent form of mass entertainment.

Thursday night’s gold- (not red-)carpet entertainment took the form of players — almost universally escorted by their mothers — parading in suits in slipcover sizes and footgear like the studded gold pumps worn by Dante Fowler Jr., the Florida linebacker chosen third by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Because the top two selections, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, didn’t attend the event, Fowler was first to cross the stage at the auditorium theater of Roosevelt University. He was wearing a white suit with red piping at the lapels and pockets.

Long before he got there, though, social media was already abuzz with talk not of the player’s potential draft placement, his explosive power on the field or his light-footed agility, but of unabashed awe at his “shoe game.”

Fox News speculated that the Christian Louboutin pumps cost $7,000; Fowler himself noted that he and his stylist chose gold shoes expressly to complement the gold carpet. He added that the hubcap-size wristwatch he wore for the evening was not his usual lucky watch but another timepiece from a growing collection, this one a “gift from a friend.” Yes, it was gold.

If no one at Thursday’s draft yet presented much competition for Cruz — an inveterate follower of fashion whose stylist, Rachel Johnson, said of him that “he eats clothes” — still there were some obvious comers.

Cedric Ogbuehi, an offensive lineman from Texas A & M chosen 21st by the Cincinnati Bengals, looked particularly smart in a blue three-piece suit with collared vest, a neatly tucked pocket square and a modified fro-hawk.

So, in his idiosyncratic way, did Bud Dupree, a linebacker from Kentucky, who offered his own take on tone-on-tone dressing by wearing a red velveteen jacket with red pocket square, a gray shirt with gray tie, all of it set off by a luxuriant mane styled in a manner evocative of the elaborate coiffures seen on ancient Chola bronzes of Hindu deities.

As it happened, the most polished element of a gold-carpet presentation — that, for all its viewer reach, could take lessons from the pros who have rendered a turn at the Oscars or Emmy Awards a million-dollar cross-branding opportunity — had little to do with fashion.

Squarely facing questions from reporters about his citation Monday for marijuana possession, Missouri defensive end Shane Ray (drafted 23rd by the Denver Broncos) wore a sober gray suit, a red tie and red boutonniere, and an admirable air of dignity in owning up to what he termed his recent “mistake.”

“No one’s perfect,” Ray readily conceded, with what looked to this viewer like true style.