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“I’ve learned from him what he’s brought to the table, what he’s done over the years and all the teams he’s been on - especially what he’s done for this organization,” Orakpo said. “That’s the first guy that I leaned on, obviously, being a linebacker. He made the transition a lot easier seeing what he does.”

Fletcher taught — and still is teaching — Orakpo how to play “faster” and count on his athleticism to produce. In turn, Orakpo has used his brief NFL experience to assist Kerrigan, the Redskins‘ first-round pick out of Purdue in April who is making the same transition from defensive end to linebacker.

“Rak talks to Ryan all the time about little things — about hand usage, coverage — because Rak went through it last year,” Haslett said. “Here’s another guy that didn’t drop a lot, more of a rush guy and he had a lot to learn. It’s kind of fun to have two young guys outside that are big powerful guys that can run and guys that can get to the quarterback.”

Orakpo helping Kerrigan with the adjustment is no shock; the Redskins hope their 2011 first-rounder is as quick a study as his mentor. But on the field and off, Orakpo is becoming someone many teammates turn to for advice and leadership.

And that doesn’t surprise Fletcher in the least.

“Some guys, you can’t force leadership on someone — or they can’t try to force it, either. He has natural leadership qualities — he’s had it since he came here as a rookie,” Fletcher said. “He’s just out there really showing his personality.”