GH's Potter taken in NFL Draft

John Potter already had plenty to celebrate this afternoon as he and his roommates graduated from Western Michigan University. Potter, a 2008 Grand Haven High School graduate, had even more to celebrate when his cell phone rang and he realized it was Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey. Gailey told Potter that the Bills were going to select him with their final pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Matt DeYoung
Apr 29, 2012

"I had no idea I was going to get drafted," Potter said. "I was talking to a few teams, and it was looking like a free agent contract. Going into the last few picks, I got a call from the Buffalo Bills. I thought it was the special teams coach, then I realized it was the head coach and he said they were going to take me.

"I was stunned."

Potter's high school coach, Mike Farley, had just returned from a trip to the grocery store when he settled down to watch the final few minutes of the draft. He was thrilled to see Potter taken with the 251st selection.

"I sat down and knew it was about the end of the draft, 8-9 picks left, so I said, 'I'll see who they are,'" Farley said. "Then I see John Potter, Buffalo Bills. I was surprised, especially being a kicker. Not a lot of kickers get drafted. Most sign on as a free agent, then get a tryout, but obviously with John's leg and his ability, Buffalo went after him."

The Bills already have a solid field goal kicker on their roster in veteran Ryan Lindell. They targeted Potter because of his tremendous leg strength on kickoffs.

"They're looking for me to come in and be a kickoff specialist," Potter said. "If I can consistently hit touchbacks, they're going to keep me around."

Potter learned the Bills would draft him just seconds before the pick was announced on TV.

"I went up to my room to take the call, so I wasn't at the TV when it happened," he said. "I told everyone to quick run down and watch it, and I could hear them celebrating.

"It's been a pretty amazing day. It was great to have all my family and friends here."

Potter, the son of Jack and Elizabeth Potter, said he's waiting to hear what his exact schedule is, but he will head out to Buffalo for a three-day minicamp in a few weeks.

For now, he's going to figure out how to stock up on Buffalo Bills memorabilia, which isn't necessarily prevalent in Kalamazoo.

"I'll probably have to order some online," said Potter, one of four kickers taken in this year's draft. "It's exciting. I can't want to get in there, meet my coaching staff, meet my teammates."

Potter is one of two Broncos selected in the seventh round today. Record-breaking wide receiver Jordan White was selected by the New York Jets seven picks ahead of Potter.

Farley said the hard work Potter put in over the years is paying off in a big way.

"Even back in high school, he was banging kicks through the uprights," Farley said. "He can control his kickoffs, too. He has the ability to kick it high in the air and have it land at the 1 or the 2. That's a special talent he has.

"I'm really happy for him and for his family," Farley continued. "I remember John, when the new stadium was built, would hop the fence with his bag of balls and work on his kicking. It just shows how much work he's put into being a great kicker.

"One of the mottos of our program is, 'Building a championship culture,' and when you have a kid like that who comes through your program, it makes you really proud."

The Bills will visit Detroit to face the Lions in Week 4 of the 2012 exhibition season, either August 29 or 30.

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