Madden 19 Ratings: All the best middle linebackers (MLB)

We’ve got ALL the best middle linebackers (MLBs) with the highest rating on Madden 19 that can be the beating heart of your defense.

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

Middle linebackers are vital to how a defense functions. They are the primary tackler against the run, expected to flow all across the field chasing down ball carriers and fighting off blockers. Against the pass they have to protect the middle of the field or match up with tight ends and running backs in man coverage. In short, if your middle linebacker is bad, your defense will be bad.

How to choose the best middle linebackers in Madden 19’s Franchise Mode

When looking for a middle linebacker you need to make sure they have a strong tackle stat, as well as the speed and athleticism required to cover a lot of ground. Things like catching are a bonus, but strong coverage skills are a must unless you want to be the one governing their every move. Here are all the best middle linebackers in Madden 19 with an OVR rating of 78 or above.

Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers (OVR 99)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$38.49m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.83m

Best Stats: Speed (86), Tackle (98), Zone Coverage (88), Play Recognition (99), Pursuit (97)

When Luke Kuechly is healthy, he is an automatic All-Pro. In his six seasons in the NFL the Panthers star has been named a First Team All-Pro four times, with the exceptions being his rookie season and 2016 when he played just 10 games. Kuechly is a genius at middle linebacker, able to see what the offense is going to do before the ball is snapped and then consistently chasing down the ball carrier.

In Madden 19 he has the maximum OVR of 99, and it’s well deserved. His position-best tackle rating (98) is combined with a brilliant block shedding (90) and pursuit (97) to make him a tackling torpedo on the football field. Oh, and he also has the best catching stat (80) at the position too, making him a turnover machine in the right hands.

Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks (OVR 97)

Age: 28

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 2 years/$20.25m

2018 Cap Hit: $8.25m

Best Stats: Speed (88), Tackle (98), Zone Coverage (89), Play Recognition (97), Pursuit (96)

Drafted the same year as Kuechly, Bobby Wagner has quickly become one of the very best defensive players in the NFL. He has missed just one game in the last three seasons, and made the last two First Team All-Pros. He made 133 tackles last year and has been the brain in the heart of the Seahawks brilliant defense from the moment they drafted him.

Wagner is barely a step behind Kuechly on Madden 19. He’s a touch faster (speed 88, agility 85) and just as good a tackler (98). They have very similar coverage skills as well. His block shedding (89), play recognition (97), and pursuit (96) are just a hair below Kuechly’s, but an OVR of 97 shows just what a force Wagner can be on the field.

Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons (OVR 91)

Age: 23

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 2 years/$2.4m

2018 Cap Hit: $1.06m

Best Stats: Speed (89), Tackle (87), Zone Coverage (89), Play Recognition (92), Pursuit (88)

Jones has been a bolt of electricity for the Falcons defense since they drafted him in the second round in 2016. He made 138 tackles last season while also picking off three paces, forcing three fumbles, and causing no end of chaos to opposing offenses.

Jones’ biggest asset in Madden 19 is his athleticism. He has the second-best speed (89) and second-best acceleration (91), and pairs that with strong coverage skills in both man (81) and zone (89). He has six interceptions in his two years in the NFL, so if you are looking for a middle linebacker that can cover the field against the pass and torment quarterbacks then he is your guy.

Zach Brown, Washington Redskins (OVR 88)

Age: 28

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$16.5m

2018 Cap Hit: $5.25m

Best Stats: Speed (88), Tackle (93), Play Recognition (93), Pursuit (93)

For a quality player Zach Brown has moved around a lot. He was a second-round pick in 2012 for the Tennessee Titans, but struggled with injuries and consistency there. He moved to Buffalo as a free agent in 2016 and was very good, he hit free agency again and landed in Washington in 2017, where he made 127 tackles in just 13 games.

Brown’s Madden rating is extremely strong thanks to his elite tackling (93) and good athleticism. Against the run there is little to differentiate Brown from the likes of Kuechly and Wagner, but despite his exceptional agility (88) he is remarkably poor in coverage, in man coverage (53) he is a complete liability, and barely better in zone (63), making Brown someone you need to take control of consistently.

Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers (OVR 87)

Age: 24

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$6.89m

2018 Cap Hit: $2.17m

Best Stats: Speed (83), Tackle (86), Zone Coverage (83), Play Recognition (86), Pursuit (92)

Reuben Foster came into the league last year with a chip on his shoulder after a draft day slide to the end of the first round. It was San Francisco that ended his slide at 31, and he rewarded them by looking like the second coming of Patrick Willis as he flew around the field and hit everything that moved. In just 10 games before getting sidelined with a shoulder injury he racked up 72 tackles, seven of which were in the backfield, and was a force to be reckoned with.

In Madden 19 Foster is built like a classic second-year player. Lots of strong physical attributes (91 hit power, 84 strength) but he is behind the veterans in a lot of the mental aspects such as play recognition (86). However, he is just 24. There is plenty of time to develop those traits and turn Foster into the best middle linebacker in the league.

Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers (OVR 86)

Age: 25

Development Trait: Normal

Contract: 1 year/$8.26m

2018 Cap Hit: $8.26m

Best Stats: Speed (86), Tackle (87), Zone Coverage (83), Play Recognition (88), Pursuit (86) 

Ryan Shazier has been in the league for four years already, but is still just 25. Injuries have, unfortunately, played a big part in Shazier’s career. He’s never played a full season in the NFL, and his 2017 season ended when he required spinal stabilization surgery. That injury will keep him out of the 2018 season, but hopefully it won’t affect his long-term status.

Shazier’s best assets are his athleticism. He has good speed (86) for his position and terrific agility (88). This translates into solid pass coverage (73 man, 83 zone) and an ability to cover a lot of ground against the run. Shazier’s block shedding (77) needs some work, but as long as Madden 19 allows him to return from his injury you will have time to build that up.

Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints (OVR 86)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 3 years/$14.8m

2018 Cap Hit: $4.82m

Best Stats: Speed (86), Tackle (87), Zone Coverage (79), Play Recognition (88), Pursuit (89)

Another 2012 draftee, Demario Davis had four seasons in New York with the Jets before moving to Cleveland on a one-year deal, and then returning to the Jets in 2017. After racking up 135 tackles last season he moved to the Saints as a free agent.

Davis is the definition of a solid player. A good tackler (87, hit power 86) with solid athleticism and reasonable coverage skills (71 man, 79 zone), but he doesn’t stand out in any way. There’s no exceptional stat that makes Davis jump out, but at the same time there is no red flag that makes you worry about having him on the field.

CJ Mosley, Baltimore Ravens (OVR 85)

Age: 26

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$5.24m

2018 Cap Hit: $5.24m

Best Stats: Speed (85), Tackle (94), Zone Coverage (80), Play Recognition (85), Pursuit (85)

Mosley has been terrific for the Ravens since they took him 17th overall in the 2014 draft. He stepped in from day one and became Ray Lewis’ successor immediately. As a rookie he racked up 151 tackles, and he’s been getting better ever since then. He has eight interceptions in his career, and finished last season with 132 tackles.

Mosley is an elite tackler (94) on Madden this year, making him the perfect middle linebacker for first and second down. With terrific acceleration (90) he can get to the ball carrier in a hurry, and he has the speed (85) to get to the edge as well. He isn’t brilliant in coverage (73 man, 80 zone) and his recognition skills aren’t great (85), but there is nothing stopping Mosley from being a deadly player in your hands.

Danny Trevathan, Chicago Bears (OVR 85)

Age: 28

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 2 years/$12.92m

2018 Cap Hit: $5.79m

Best Stats: Speed (80), Tackle (92), Zone Coverage (86), Play Recognition (89), Pursuit (86)

Trevathan is a mainstay of the NFL now. After four good years in Denver, the Chicago Bears snapped him up in free agency. His stats don’t jump off the page thanks in part to injuries preventing him from playing full seasons, but in his two years with Chicago he has 155 tackles in 21 games to go along with three sacks and an interception.

In Madden 19, Trevathan is another strong tackler (92) and is particularly good in zone coverage (86), however he lacks ideal athleticism. With just 80 speed and 80 agility he will struggle getting to the outside runs, which is a problem. Still, as one of the better coverage linebackers and with good catching (73) he can create some turnovers.

Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers (OVR 83)

Age: 24

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 2 years/$1.4m

2018 Cap Hit: $620k

Best Stats: Speed (82), Tackle (91), Play Recognition (88), Pursuit (92)

A fourth-round pick by the Packers in 2016, Martinez took over the starting middle linebacker job for Green Bay in 2017. He started all 16 games and made 142 tackles on the year while picking off one pass and getting a sack.

Martinez has better speed (82) than Danny Trevathan, which leads to a better pursuit stat (92), but his coverage is a serious weak point in Madden 19. With just a 50 man coverage and 56 zone coverage rating he is a serious problem on third-and-long situations. Against the run Martinez is a really good player, his block shedding (88) is among the best, but that weakness against the pass will force players to take control of him on third down or sub him off.

Other star middle linebackers

Name Team OVR Development Trait Contract 2018 Cap Hit
Avery Williamson New York Jets 83 Quick 3yrs/$16.5m $5.3m
Anthony Hitchens Kansas City Chiefs 82 Quick 5yrs/$31m $5.82m
Jordan Hicks Philadelphia Eagles 81 Quick 1yr/$850k $850k
Roquan Smith Chicago Bears 81 Superstar 4yrs/$18.4m $4.46m
Kwon Alexander Tampa Bay Buccaneers 80 Quick 1yr/720k $720k
Derrick Johnson Oakland Raiders 80 Normal 1yr/$1.3m $1.3m
Wesley Woodyard Tennessee Titans 80 Normal 2yrs/$5.34m $2.49m
Zach Cunningham Houston Texans 79 Quick 3yrs/$3.40m $1.04m
Eric Kendricks Minnesota Vikings 79 Quick 6yrs/$40.6m $6.07m
Reggie Ragland Kansas City Chiefs 79 Quick 2yrs/$3.05m $1.37m
Todd Davis Denver Broncos 78 Quick 3yrs/$12m $3.83m
Nick Kwiatkoski Chicago Bears 78 Normal 2yrs/$1.53m $660k
Benardrick McKinney Houston Texans 78 Quick 6yrs/$38.4m $5.81m
Vince Williams Pittsburgh Steelers 78 Quick 1yr/$1.68m $1.68m
Jake Ryan Green Bay Packers 78 Quick 1yr/$720k $720k


Toby Durant