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John Potter featured among Bills keepers

By Tim Graham

Now that we've cataloged the 21 players the Buffalo Bills released, let's take a look at who they kept.

We've known for a few hours the Bills were keeping backup quarterbacks Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith along with newcomer Tarvaris Jackson and that they were cutting all of their bubble receivers. We knew they were keeping H-back Dorin Dickerson.

As for the others, there were few interesting decisions.

Based on Twitter interest all day, fans were fascinated with the status of kickoff specialist John Potter. The seventh-round draft choice from Western Michigan survived, although two players drafted ahead of him -- fifth-round linebacker Tank Carder and sixth-round center Mark Asper -- did not.

Potter was near perfect in the preseason, drilling kick after kick out of the end zone for touchbacks. Bills head coach Chan Gailey said a few weeks ago he needed convincing that Potter was worth a spot on the 53-man roster, and his play -- along with some lobbying from special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven -- must've done the trick.

For the record, the Bills released two other recent draft choices today: wide receiver Marcus Easley (fourth round, 2010) and running back Johnny White (fifth round, 2011).

Defensive tackle Alex Carrington made the roster. That's significant because that keeps three draft choices from 2010 on the active roster. First-round running back C.J. Spiller and sixth-round linebacker Arthur Moats were the only players from General Manager Buddy Nix's first draft class who were considered safe. Second-round defensive tackle Torell Troup is on injured reserve.

When the Bills cut pass-rusher Shawne Merriman two weeks ago, there was a belief Robert Eddins and Jarron Gilbert could benefit from the added reps, but both were cut. Kyle Moore was the only defensive end kept aside from free-agent notables Mario Williams and Mark Anderson and mainstay Chris Kelsay.

Here is the positional breakdown for the moment:

* 4 quarterbacks
* 4 running backs
* 4 wide receivers (not counting QB Brad Smith)
* 3 tight ends/H-backs
* 9 offensive linemen
* 8 defensive linemen
* 7 linebackers
* 10 defensive backs
* 4 specialists

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |