But Steelers fans aren't patient, which is why Limas Sweed has already been declared a bust by some six games into his rookie season.
Sweed finally got his first catch of the year last week against the Bengals. He has only been active for two games this year, and will likely return to the inactive roster as soon as Dallas Baker is healthy.
But it's time to take a deep breath and give the second-round pick a break. The reality is that rookie wide recievers are generally awful, and it often takes three seasons before an NFL receiver truly gets it. Sweed clearly hasn't gotten it yet, as he dropped too many passes during the preseason and has shown signs that the game right now is too fast for him. But eventually Sweed will catch up to the speed of the game, and when he does the drops will likely go away as well.
The reality is that the Steelers don't need Sweed to make an impact right now. Baker, the regular No. 4 receiver, has no catches this year. Pittsburgh usually uses only three wide receivers even in passing situations, as Heath Miller stays in the game to either work the slot or to stay in and help block. And with Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward and Nate Washington all staying healthy, there has been no need for another reciever to step up.
The Steelers can rightfully be criticized for not making enough draft picks with an eye on the future. Don't get me started about trying to envision the 2009 Steelers offensive line. But in Sweed's case, the Steelers wisely looked ahead. Next year Washington will likely leave in free agency. And by next year, hopefully Sweed will be ready to serve as a solid No. 3 receiver who can work downfield and draw off coverage while Ward works the underneath routes. But calling Sweed a bust this early is crazy.