ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ken Whisenhunt didn't hesitate to give his scouting report on Andre Roberts, his former receiver in Arizona. It wasn't a good one.
"A slow guy that can't catch," said Whisenhunt.
Yes, Whisenhunt, now Tennessee's head coach, then broke into a smile after his joke and lavished praise on the Washington Redskins' newest receiver.
Washington signed Roberts on the opening day of free agency and plans to use him in a variety of ways. The Redskins want him to play in the slot; they will use him on the outside. Whisenhunt said Roberts is capable of such a role.
He would know; Roberts' best season with Arizona came in Whisenhunt's final year with the Cardinals. In 2012, Roberts caught 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns.
"He's a very tough competitor," Whisenhunt said. "I thought he was a good leader and good player for us. I have a lot of respect for what he's done. One of the things I liked best about Andre was his flexibility. He could play the slot and play outside. He could win outside. He made himself into a tough football player."
Whisenhunt said early in Roberts' career, he was affected too much by injuries even though Roberts has played at least 15 games in each of his four seasons.
"There were things he had to fight through and he did that and that's made him a better player," Whisenhunt said. "Now he's become a great pro. He works hard, he understands what he has to do to be out there every day.
"The thing that really impresses me, I always have respect for guys who block and I've seen him block linebackers, block those big safeties. He does a great job in the slot. He understands those routes. He can think quickly on his feet."
The blocking will be key. With Washington still running an outside zone, the receivers will need to be good run blockers. Pierre Garcon is considered a good run blocker.
Whisenhunt said the Cardinals drafted Roberts with the intention of playing him in the slot. They also used him at returner on both kickoffs and punts his rookie season, but sparingly thereafter.
"He can do anything you want him to do," Whisenhunt said. "Based on my time around him, I have confidence he could do it. He's had some good mentors in [Larry] Fitzgerald and some guys who work hard. You have to give him credit. He's worked hard to be successful in this league."