Here are the Eagle Scouts playing in the NFL in 2017

Not all Eagle Scouts go on to be Eagles like Donnie Jones, punter of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Others find careers as Raiders, Dolphins, Chiefs, Ravens, Broncos, Falcons, Redskins, Texans and Saints.

A search of the NFL’s 2017 active rosters — 1,692 players in all — turns up at least 11 Eagle Scouts. These guys are living proof that great things start in Scouting.

Compiling this list, like winning a Super Bowl, was a team effort. BSA researcher Scott Olson created a spreadsheet of every player on NFL teams’ 53-man rosters. Then the National Eagle Scout Association’s Ryan Larson cross-referenced that list with his own spreadsheet of the 2.4 million-plus Eagle Scouts in history.

That spawned a list of Eagle Scout potentials for me to investigate. First, I eliminated the false positives. For example, there are several NFL players named Chris Jones and lots of Eagle Scouts with that name, but there are no Eagle Scouts named Chris Jones currently playing in the NFL.

After all that, we have confirmation that each of the NFL players below is an Eagle Scout.

Put another way: Scott threw a deep pass, and Ryan caught it for the game-winning touchdown. I was simply there on the sidelines to give them both a high five.

Two things to know:

  • Unlike my annually updated list of Eagle Scouts with Super Bowl ties, this list includes only Eagle Scouts on NFL rosters at the start of 2017 season. Others, including players on the practice squad or reserve rosters, weren’t included.
  • There’s a chance this list is incomplete, so let’s crowdsource it. If you know of an Eagle Scout on a current NFL team, leave a comment below and I’ll verify and add him.

OK, it’s game time.

James Cowser, Oakland Raiders

Position: Defensive end

Date of birth: Sept. 13, 1990

Eagle earned: 2003

Council: Trapper Trails Council

College: Southern Utah University

More: Cowser was undrafted out of college, where the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder set the NCAA FCS record with 43.5 career sacks. Before that, he did his LDS mission trip in Hong Kong and is now fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

John Denney, Miami Dolphins

Position: Long snapper

Date of birth: Dec. 13, 1978

Eagle earned: 1996

Council: Denver Area Council

College: Brigham Young University

More: Denney, signed by the Dolphins in 2005, is the team’s longest-tenured player. He’s in his 13th NFL season with the Dolphins, joining a very short list of players who have had that kind of longevity with one team.

Jordan Devey, Kansas City Chiefs

Position: Offensive tackle

Date of birth: Jan. 11, 1988

Eagle earned: 2006

Council: Utah National Parks

College: University of Memphis

More: Devey won the 2015 Super Bowl as a member of the New England Patriots.

Donnie Jones, Philadelphia Eagles

Position: Punter

Date of birth: July 5, 1980

Eagle earned: 1998

Council: Istrouma Area

College: Louisiana State University

More: Last season, the 37-year-old had a 45.8-yard punting average and even boomed a 72-yarder.

Bronson Kaufusi, Baltimore Ravens

Position: Defensive end

Date of birth: July 6, 1991

Eagle earned: 2006

Council: Utah National Parks Council

College: Brigham Young University

More: In 2016, the Ravens drafted Kaufusi in the third round — pick No. 70 overall. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle in training camp that year, but he’s fully healed and is eager to make his Ravens debut in 2017.

Matt Paradis, Denver Broncos

Position: Center

Date of birth: Oct. 12, 1989

Eagle earned: 2008

Council: Ore-Ida Council

College: Boise State University

More: For his Eagle Scout service project, Paradis renovated and enlarged a long-jump pit and shotput area. In the recent offseason, Paradis had surgery on both hips. He made a full recovery in time for the 2017 season.

Eric Saubert, Atlanta Falcons

Position: Tight end

Date of birth: May 1, 1994

Eagle earned: 2012

Council: Pathway to Adventure Council

College: Drake University

More: Saubert was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and made the 53-man roster to begin his rookie season. In college, he was a first-team all-conference pick and an All-American.

Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins

Position: Offensive guard

Date of birth: Dec. 26, 1991

Eagle earned: 2009

Council: Mid-America Council

College: University of Iowa

More: Scherff, drafted fifth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, is the highest-drafted Eagle Scout on this list. After a strong 2016 season in which he started every game, Scherff was named to the Pro Bowl.

Daniel Sorensen, Kansas City Chiefs

Position: Defensive back

Date of birth: March 5, 1990

Eagle earned: 2008

Council: California Inland Empire Council

College: Brigham Young University

More: For his Eagle Scout service project, Sorensen planted 300 trees in his hometown of Grand Terrace, Calif. The trees are still there today — forever a reminder of the young man’s service. Sorensen has become an important part of the Chiefs defense and was rewarded with a four-year contract extension in 2017.

Xavier Su’A-Filo, Houston Texans

Position: Offensive guard

Date of birth: Jan. 1, 1991

Eagle earned: 2009

Council: Utah National Parks Council

College: UCLA

More: Of his Scouting past, Su’A-Filo said: “I think it says a lot about me and my dedication, my leadership and my worth ethic. That’s something that I’ll bring and that I get to bring in the locker room in that environment.”

Manti Te’o, New Orleans Saints

Position: Linebacker

Date of birth: Jan. 26, 1991

Eagle earned: 2008

Council: Aloha Council

College: University of Notre Dame

More: In 2012, Te’o told a crowd about a good deed he had performed for a woman in need. “I had a big smile on my face expecting my dad to tell me how proud he was,” Manti told the group. “But instead, he just simply said, ‘That’s what being a Scout is all about.'”

Any I missed?

I’m looking for more Eagle Scouts on current NFL rosters. If you have any you’d like me to check out, please leave a comment below.

Others worth mentioning

  • Jordan Devey, guard (2006 Eagle Scout): Devey was cut from the Chiefs on Sept. 7.
  • Elijah Hood, running back (2014 Eagle Scout): Hood is a member of the Raiders practice squad.

42 Comments

    • Indeed! For now, the list just includes those on active rosters. But I’m a fan of Hood’s and will be rooting for him to make the team.

    • I’ll bet they don’t have any trouble standing for the National Anthem! So proud of these young men! Please continue to set the example for our younger Scouts.

      • It’s too bad this kind of info does not get in the local news Media including Local papers. I am 89 yrs young & very proud to have made Eagle.

  1. James Cowser, according to your information, has to be the youngest Eagle Scout ever. He was six years old, and a Tiger Scout according to your data ( born 1990 and earned Eagle in 1996 )…lol…Bryan…recheck that data please.. 🙂

  2. Interesting article…but double check the math on James Cowser, as you have him earning his Eagle when he was just 6 years old and playing pro football at the tender age of 17…

  3. It’s interesting to note that at least six of the ten (60% +) are either from a Utah council or attended BYU.
    There must be something in the water out there in the inter-mountain west. I’ve heard that LDS Scout units have twice the number of Eagles than the BSA average, so maybe that’s a factor.

    • The LDS Church uses the Boy Scout program as their youth program for their young men. They do have a high number of Eagle Scouts.

    • Scouting plays a big role as an activity arm for the boys/young men in the LDS Church where the program is available. Scouting is also opened to boys of other faiths who also wish to participate in LDS Church sponsored Scouting programs. Boys 8-10 participate in Cub Scouts and transition into Boy Scouts from 11 – 18. So, yes, there’s a good chance that you’ll bump into an LDS Eagle Scout besides those living or going to school in Utah.

    • Since the four council merged to make up Pathway to Adventure AFTER Mr Saubert became an Eagle Scout, which council did he earn it in? (The weakness of our databases is they just keep successors and do not have the predecessors in them.)

  4. It’s disappointing that so few of these Eagle Scouts are POC, considering how many NFL players are. BSA and local troops and councils don’t do a good enough job recruiting and retaining POC in Scouting. Someone mentioned the Utah contingent…many Eagle Scouts come from heavily LDS Utah…500,000 BSA Scouts are LDS (1/5 of all scouts), even though LDS comprise just ~2% of US population. Odds are in their favor. 😉

      • he claims he is (from the article posted, also heard a interview with him on 105.3):

        Collins is an Eagle Scout, which he admitted a lot of people don’t know about him.
        “A lot of teams asked me about being an Eagle Scout,” he told the New Orleans Times Picayune. “I told them what it was, that getting through that process was one of the first challenges I’d been through and that it’s not easy. It was something I enjoyed sharing with teams. Being an Eagle Scout means a lot to me, I know a lot of people don’t know that about me. I started (Cub Scouts) in second grade finished up (Eagle Scout) my senior year of high school.”

        • If he says he is and Eagle Scout, but doesn’t show up in the database, my guess is it’s a database problem or his paperwork didn’t get submitted/filed correctly. He wouldn’t be the first or last to fall victim to the BSA paperwork monster.

  5. He’s no longer active, but Dennis Pitta from the Baltimore Ravens is an Eagle Scout and was on the team at the start of the year before dislocating his hip for the third time.

  6. Making both Eagle and the NFL is awesome. I wonder how many guys in the NFL were in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. I would hope that is a long list.

  7. What an excellent idea for an article!
    It’s cool to see where Eagle Scouts end up, and certainly could be a motivation for the
    Cub Scouts to stick with it.
    I’m sharing this on our Pack 3154 page tomorrow during Football o’Clock (Go Browns)!
    Thank you!!!

  8. As an Eagle Scout, I’ll be boycotting the NFL this year. The exclusion of Colin Kaepernick for speaking out against systemic racism and unjust murders by law enforcement agents leaves me with no desire to support the league or their advertisers. To be an American requires standing behind the ideals of the Bill of Rights and the goal of justice for all, not just waving the flag.

    • If you are watching a game on TV and they broadcast the playing of the National Anthem, do you stand with your hand over your heart or do you stay on your comfy couch?

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