Madden 19 Ratings: All the best defensive ends (DE)

Rushing the passer is hugely important in Madden, and defensive ends play a vital role. Who are the top rated DEs in Madden 19?


Defensive end is not a singular position. In a 3-4 defense the defensive ends are squeezed inside, requiring them to be stronger and more consistent run defenders. In a 4-3 defense they need to be smaller, faster, and capable of edge rushing to hit the quarterback. Some players can do both roles, some only one.

How to choose the best defensive ends in Madden 19’s Franchise Mode

Once you know what defense you want to run, you can start to narrow down the defensive ends you want. Regardless of the front you play, strength, speed, and block shedding are always important. If they have multiple moves to get around blockers than all the better. And of course they need to be good tacklers. Here are the best defensive ends with an OVR rating of 86 or more in Madden 19.

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (OVR 99)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 1 year/$4.43m

2018 Cap Hit: $4.43m

Best Stats: Speed (83), Strength (97), Tackle (93), Block Shedding (88), Play Recognition (99)

Aaron Donald gets a much-deserved 99 OVR this year. The Rams man has been dominant ever since he came into the league in 2014 and the reigning defensive player of the year in the NFL. While the Rams recent change of defense has Donald listed as a defensive end, his “true” position is defensive tackle. He has been the best interior pass rusher the league has ever seen. In the last two years he has 19 sacks, 32 tackles for loss, and 58 QB hits, which is just remarkable for someone who never ventures outside the offensive tackle.

The Madden 19 Aaron Donald is a force of nature. His acceleration (90) leads all defensive ends, and while there are plenty that are faster than him, they are all specialist edge rushers, not versatile pieces like Donald. His strength (97) is tied for the best, and he combines all that with flawless play recognition (99) and brilliant tackling (93).

Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders (OVR 98)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 1 year/$7.43m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.43m

Best Stats: Speed (87), Strength (89), Tackle (92), Block Shedding (92), Play Recognition (95)

Khalil Mack is a true monster edge rusher. The fifth-overall pick in 2014, Mack had his breakout season in 2015 when he picked up 15 sacks. He went on to win the 2016 defensive player of the year award and dictated blocking schemes for every opponent.

In Madden 19, as in real life, Mack’s biggest asset is his athleticism. He has the second-best speed (87) among defensive ends, together with the second-best acceleration (89) and best agility (88). With that explosive athleticism comes excellent block shedding (92) and the kind of pass rushing off the edge that every team would kill for.

JJ Watt, Houston Texans (OVR 98)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$67.77m

2018 Cap Hit: $14.9m

Best Stats: Speed (78), Strength (97), Tackle (93), Block Shedding (93), Play Recognition (97)

JJ Watt has been paying the price for his excellence of late. After dominating the NFL for five straight years, he has played just eight games in the last two seasons due to various injuries. Still, if he were to retire today, he would be a sure-fire hall of famer. The Texans star is the only player in NFL history to register at least 20 sacks in two separate seasons and has been named defensive player of the year a record-equalling three times.

The Madden 19 version of JJ Watt is a beast. With position-best strength (97), terrific play recognition (97), and excellent block shedding (93), Watt is nearly unstoppable. His speed (78) isn’t quite what you’d like, limiting his ability to play on the edge consistently, but inside he can cause chaos on every snap.

Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints (OVR 95)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 3 years/$30.02m

2018 Cap Hit: $8.31m

Best Stats: Speed (78), Strength (91), Tackle (89), Block Shedding (92), Play Recognition (97)

Jordan has been a good player for a long time, but in 2017 he really came into his own. Released as a pass rusher more consistently, he rewarded the Saints with 13 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 28 QB hits.

Like Watt, the Madden 19 Cameron Jordan isn’t quite fast enough (78) to be happy with on the outside full time, however he has better acceleration (85) and agility (79) than Watt, so he can be productive outside. He’s not as strong (91) as the Texans man, but can still diagnose plays and make the stop. Jordan doesn’t have the pedigree of JJ Watt, but he is still a star on Madden 19.

Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles (OVR 93)

Age: 30

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 1 year/$6.62m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.62m

Best Stats: Speed (79), Strength (86), Tackle (90), Block Shedding (87), Play Recognition (90)

Graham has been a good player for a while now, but he hit the headlines with his Super Bowl-winning strip sack of Tom Brady. He led a strong Eagles pass rush with 9.5 sacks last year, and added 15 tackles for loss and 14 QB hits as well. 

Graham has less speed (79) than is ideal in Madden 19, but with good acceleration (86) and agility (82) he can hold up on the outside. He lacks the strength (86) to play consistently on the inside, but just like in real life you should have no worries above sliding him inside on passing downs to generate more pass rush and create some havoc.

Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars (OVR 93)

Age: 31

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$38.9m

2018 Cap Hit: $12.2m

Best Stats: Speed (73), Strength (87), Tackle (91), Block Shedding (93), Play Recognition (94)

Campbell had a very productive career in Arizona. He spent nine seasons in the desert, racking up 56.5 sacks as an incredibly versatile defensive lineman. The Cardinals moved him all over the front to toy with offenses. Last offseason he signed a free agent deal with Jacksonville and became a totally different player. The Jaguars unleashed Campbell as a 4-3 defensive end on first and second down, and then kicked him inside on third down for their faster edge rushers. The result was an incredible 14.5 sacks, easily a career-high, and utter ruin for offenses.

In Madden 19 Campbell lacks the speed to be a consistent outside defensive end, but at 6’8” his sheer size will cause problems wherever you line him up. Campbell has terrific contact skills (93 block shedding) and is a strong tackler (91). He will be a force against the run and a very useful inside pass rusher.

Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings (OVR 92)

Age: 30

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 5 years/$48.5m

2018 Cap Hit: $9.4m

Best Stats: Speed (83), Strength (85), Tackle (86), Block Shedding (83), Play Recognition (94)

With the likes of Watt and Mack coming into the league, Everson Griffen has been something of a forgotten man at defensive end, but he is incredibly good in his own right. With 43.5 sacks over the last four seasons there have been few pass rushers as consistent as Griffen, and his play against the run has been improving every year.

In Madden 19, Everson Griffen has a wonderful blend of speed (83) and strength (85) that allows him to play outside on every down and take on runs directly at him while also being able to rush the edge. His block shedding (83) isn’t ideal, and should be the first thing you improve.

Mike Daniels, Green Bay Packers (OVR 91)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 2 years/$16.51m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.83m

Best Stats: Speed (76), Strength (94), Tackle (88), Block Shedding (89), Play Recognition (95)

Mike Daniels is very much a 3-4 defensive end. If you play a 4-3 you should put him inside at defensive tackle. The Packers big end has been a force in the league ever since he took over the starting job in 2014. Daniels doesn’t rack up sacks due to the defensive scheme, but he can provide a lot of inside pass rush, and has averaged 4.5 sacks per year. His best asset is run defense though.

With remarkable play recognition (95) and strength (94), Daniels is a brute that is tough to move. His block shedding (89) will also allow him to get off blocks quickly and make plays. He has solid acceleration (82) to get off the ball as well. Just make sure you don’t end up with him outside too much.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (OVR 91)

Age: 26  

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 1 year/$17.1m

2018 Cap Hit: $17.1m

Best Stats: Speed (80), Strength (86), Tackle (85), Block Shedding (87), Play Recognition (90)

Injuries prevented us from seeing the real DeMarcus Lawrence, until 2017 that is. Finally fully healthy, Lawrence unleashed his potential on the NFL and racked up 14.5 sacks for the Cowboys to go along with 14 tackles for loss and 26 QB hits, all of which led the team.

At 26, you’ll have time to develop Lawrence even further on Madden 19. He has good speed (80) to go along with excellent acceleration (88) that makes him a permanent fixture on the outside, but he also has enough strength (86) and size to play on the inside on third and long if you have a lot of good edge rushers. His block shedding (87) needs some work, as does his tackling (85), but Lawrence is a quality option for any 4-3 defense.

Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers (OVR 91)

Age: 23

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 2 years/$13.28m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.26m

Best Stats: Speed (81), Strength (87), Tackle (81), Block Shedding (76), Play Recognition (93)

Bosa entered the NFL as the third overall pick in 2016 and was an instant success for the Chargers. He had 10.5 sacks his rookie year, and then 12.5 in 2017, combine that with remarkable 28 tackles for loss and 42 QB hits in his two years and Bosa is a real star of the future in the NFL.

The Madden 19 version of Joey Bosa threatens to be less productive than expected. While he retains his remarkable smarts for a player his age (play recognition 93), his block shedding (76) isn’t nearly what you would hope it would be. He has the athleticism to win on the edge, but you’ll will need to develop the technical side of his game. At just 23 there is plenty of time to turn him into a true QB hunter though.

Other star defensive ends

NameTeamOVRDevelopment TraitContract2018 Cap Hit
Melvin IngramLos Angeles Chargers90Star3yrs/$35.7m$10.8m
Jurrell CaseyTennessee Titans89Star5yrs/$49.74m$8.96m
Chandler JonesArizona Cardinals89Quick4yrs/$55.2m$12.3m
Jabaal SheardIndianapolis Colts89Quick2yrs/$11.5m$5.47m
Cameron WakeMiami Dolphins89Quick2yrs/$21.8m$9.3m
Brandon WilliamsBaltimore Ravens89Star4yrs/$30.3m$6.95m
Michael BennettPhiladelphia Eagles88Quick3yrs/$17.04m$4.98m
Michael BrockersLos Angeles Rams88Quick2yrs/$9.9m$4.8m
Myles GarrettCleveland Browns88Superstar3yrs/$23.13m$7.41m
Cameron HeywardPittsburgh Steelers88Quick3yrs/$30.2m$8.65m
William HayesMiami Dolphins87Quick1yr/$4m$4m
Chris JonesKansas City Chiefs87Quick2yrs/$3.24m$1.47m
Trey FlowersNew England Patriots86Quick1yr/$740k$740k
Yannick NgakoueJacksonville Jaguars86Quick2yrs/1.84m$800k
Stephon TuittPittsburgh Steelers86Quick5yrs/$44.8m$6.31m

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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