Donald Jones: The Buffalo Bills Most Improved Player

Ryan TalbotContributor INovember 12, 2012

Donald Jones' recent emergence has been one of the few bright spots on the team.
Donald Jones' recent emergence has been one of the few bright spots on the team.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

At 3-6 it's time to start evaluating the Buffalo Bills and their current roster.

One thing I've heard from many Bills fans is the need to draft a wide receiver in 2013 or bring in a big name free agent receiver.

I wholeheartedly disagree with those who believe this.

Donald Jones' recent emergence is the reason why.

In 2011, the Buffalo Bills parted with Lee Evans for a fourth round draft pick. Fans were outraged, as were a few Buffalo Bills' players.

Drayton Florence, a Bills cornerback at the time was mentioned in the article linked above, stated:

"Sad day for the bills," Florence wrote. "Are we trying to win now or later????"

The biggest reason the Bills parted with Evans was due to the Bills coaching staff believing in Donald Jones. They loved his speed and believed he would take over for Evans without missing a beat.

Jones' 2011 campaign was forgettable. He only played in eight games due to an ankle injury and finished with 23 receptions, 231 yards and one touchdown.

The 2012 season is Jones' third in the NFL. This is the make it or break it year for Jones. Generally, it takes wide receivers three years to adjust to the speed of the game.

In the first six games, Jones did not stand out. However, in his last three games you could argue that he's been the Bills' best wide receiver.

2012 Stats: 32 receptions, 380 yards and 4 touchdowns

First six games: 16 receptions, 194 yards and 3 touchdowns on 27 targets.

Last three games: 16 receptions, 186 yards and 1 touchdown on 24 targets.

It's clear that Jones is becoming one of Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite targets as of late.

If he continues to produce at a pace similar to his last three games his final totals would be: 69 receptions, 814 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Personally, I'd take that out of my number two receiver any day.

Jones has already set new career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He deserves plenty of praise for his improved play. Here's to hoping he and the Buffalo Bills finish the 2012 season on a high note.