Madden 19 Ratings: All the best outside linebackers (OLB)

Outside linebackers (OLBs) need to be versatile for your defense to succeed. Which players have the highest rating in Madden 19?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

Much like defensive ends, there are two types of outside linebacker. Those that play on the edge and spend a lot of their time rushing the quarterback and playing on the edge of the offensive line, and those that play off the line and have a lot more coverage and flow responsibility. Knowing which type of outside linebacker you need will help you identify the player you want in your team.

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

3-4 teams want pass rushers. Speed, block shedding, finesse and power moves are all vital, as is tackling. 4-3 teams want more coverage skills, but block shedding is also important. Tackling, play recognition, and athleticism is, of course, important for both spots. Remember, 3-4 linebackers can be moved into a defensive end in your depth chart, so don’t discount the great 3-4 pass rushers if you run a 4-3. Here are the best outside linebackers in Madden 19 with an OVR rating of 80 or more.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos (OVR 99)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$53.6m

2018 Cap Hit: $12.6m

Best Stats: Speed (87), Acceleration (90), Strength (84), Tackle (94), Block Shedding (95), Play Recognition (99)

Von Miller is the best outside linebacker in Madden 19. The Broncos edge rusher is a beast that was purpose-built to terrorize quarterbacks. In every season, bar one, he’s registered at least 10 sacks, and the time he didn’t it was due to injury. Miller collected 10 sacks last season along with 17 tackles for loss and 23 QB hits.

In Madden 19 Miller is a monster. His 87 speed is superb for the position, and his 90 acceleration is second-best. Within that 95 block shed stat are multiple ways to beat a blocker thanks to his 95 finesse move and 89 power move. Miller is perhaps the best pure pass rusher in the game.

Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys (OVR 96)

Age: 32

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 2 years/$10.3m

2018 Cap Hit: $4.98m

Best Stats: Speed (83), Acceleration (88), Tackle (97), Block Shedding (87), Zone Coverage (81), Play Recognition (97)

When on the field Sean Lee is nothing short of excellent. He’s a tackling machine that makes the Dallas Cowboys defense work. All too often though, he isn’t on the field thanks to injuries. In his eight seasons he’s yet to play in all 16 regular season games. He missed all of 2014, and last year missed five games. Despite that, he’s made two Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro in 2016.

In Madden 19 Lee has the second-best tackle stat (97) behind middle linebackers Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. He also has excellent play recognition (97) and good coverage skills (man 72, zone 81). If you want an off-the-line outside linebacker then Sean Lee is as good as it gets, but he’ll require a solid backup.

Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OVR 96)

Age: 28

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$26.74m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.82m

Best Stats: Speed (86), Acceleration (90), Tackle (94), Block Shedding (89), Zone Coverage (85), Play Recognition (92)

Lavonte David is Sean Lee’s heir apparent. A fast, smart, physical linebacker, David was a steal for the Bucs, who took him in the second round in 2012. Since then David has racked up 764 tackles, picked off 10 passes, registered 18 sacks, made one First Team All-Pro, and been far better than most people realize because not a lot of people watch Tampa Bay.

In Madden 19, David is arguably better than Lee. He’s faster and better in zone coverage, so if you like to use your outside linebacker then he may well be the best option for you. If you prefer to let the AI control him, then his lower play recognition makes him less effective.

Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans (OVR 92)

Age: 25

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 1 year/$7.42m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.42m

Best Stats: Speed (87), Acceleration (90), Strength (84), Tackle (87), Block Shedding (88), Play Recognition (94)

Clowney is a physical monster. A former first-overall pick, injuries slowed down Clowney in his first two years, but in the last two years he’s had 15.5 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, and 38 QB hits. As an outside linebacker he is a pure edge defender in a 3-4 defense. His quickness and power has been a nightmare for blockers since he entered the NFL.

In Madden 19 Clowney is underrated. His strength (84) is too low. His speed (87) is electric though, and his power moves (90) stat is terrific. At just 25 there is plenty of growth still to come for Clowney, and that means he could soon be as good as Von Miller.

Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs (OVR 90)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$52m

2018 Cap Hit: $15.1m

Best Stats: Speed (83), Acceleration (87), Strength (85), Tackle (88), Block Shedding (86), Play Recognition (92)

Justin Houston has been terrorizing quarterbacks for a while now. A third-round pick in 2011 by the Chiefs, he started 10 games as a rookie and registered 5.5 sacks. He nearly doubled that the next season when he picked up 10 sacks along with an interception and a forced fumble. By 2014 Houston was one of the most efficient pass rushers in the NFL and very nearly broke the single season sack record, finishing just one away with 22 on the year. Since then injuries have slowed Houston somewhat, he played just 16 games between 2015 and 2016, but last year saw him miss just one game and finish with 9.5 sacks.

In Madden 19 Houston has excellent tackling (88) and solid block shedding (86) as well as wonderful acceleration (87) that will give him some immediate wins off the snap. His power moves (86) are good too and will beat a lot of blockers. 

Telvin Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars (OVR 90)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$31.31m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.97m

Best Stats: Speed (88), Acceleration (89), Tackle (88), Block Shedding (88), Zone Coverage (80), Play Recognition (91)

A fifth-round pick in 2014, Telvin Smith has been an absolute steal for the Jaguars. He became a starter by his second season and made his first Pro Bowl in 2017. He was the Jaguars version of Sean Lee last season, flying all over the field to make tackles, break up passes, and generally being a nightmare for offenses to handle. He finished the year with three interceptions, a forced fumble, two touchdowns, and 102 tackles. It won’t be long before Smith is an All-Pro.

In Madden 19 Smith’s athleticism is his best trait. He’s faster than both Lee and David, though not quite as powerful a tackler. His play recognition is excellent so he’ll always be where he should, and while that zone coverage (80) could use work it isn’t awful.

Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals (OVR 88)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 3 years/$21.33m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.68m

Best Stats: Speed (79), Acceleration (84), Tackle (91), Block Shedding (88), Zone Coverage (78), Play Recognition (85)

Burfict’s personality often overshadows his play. The Bengals linebacker is as aggressive and physical as they come, and would probably have been better suited to football in the 1980s than today. Injuries have meant that he hasn’t played even close to a full season since 2013, but his production against the run has been excellent for the Bengals since day one.

In Madden 19 he’s a superb tackler (91) with a hit power (94) that will shake the ball loose with regularity. He’s not very fast though (speed 79), which makes him a problem on third downs. If you need a run stopper and don’t mind subbing him out for passing downs, then Burfict is a strong option.

Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins (OVR 87)

Age: 30

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$27.12m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.46m

Best Stats: Speed (81), Acceleration (86), Strength (86), Tackle (83), Block Shedding (77), Play Recognition (92)

Another pass rushing outside linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan doesn’t get the praise he deserves. A first-round pick in 2011, Kerrigan has been incredibly consistent for the Redskins. He’s not missed a game in his eight years and has never finished the year with less than 7.5 sacks. Over the last two years he’s registered 24 sacks, 30 tackles for loss, and 37 QB hits.

In Madden 19 Kerrigan’s speed (81) isn’t quite ideal, but his strength (86) and block shedding (77) will certainly help him get to the quarterback. His play recognition (92) means he isn’t going to be losing his edge often at all and makes him a superb run defender. His power moves (88) are among the best at the position.

Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers (OVR 86)

Age: 32

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$17.2m

2018 Cap Hit: $17.2m

Best Stats: Speed (82), Acceleration (88), Strength (84), Tackle (83), Block Shedding (87), Play Recognition (85)

Clay Matthews was a star almost as soon as he came into the NFL. A first-round pick in 2009 he picked up 10 sacks his rookie season and followed that up with 13 and a First Team All-Pro in 2010. In recent years the Packers have moved Matthews inside to middle linebacker on first and second downs due to their inability to find anyone else. However with Blake Martinez now on the team they have been able to move Matthews back to the edge. He isn’t the uber-athlete he was when he first broke into the NFL, but Matthews is still an excellent pass rusher.

In Madden 19 Matthews’ speed isn’t great (82) but he has terrific acceleration (88) and block shedding (87) to overcome blockers. His play recognition (85) is not elite, but it isn’t bad and he should be a strong option on the edge. 

Brian Orakpo, Tennessee Titans (OVR 86)

Age: 32

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$9.38m

2018 Cap Hit: $9.38m

Best Stats: Speed (81), Acceleration (86), Strength (90), Tackle (85), Block Shedding (72), Play Recognition (84)

Another veteran edge rusher, Brian Orakpo was a first-round pick in 2009 for the Washington Redskins and registered 40 sacks for them in six years before signing with the Titans as a free agent in 2015. Over the last three years with Tennessee the veteran has been very productive, and in 2017 finished the year with seven sacks, three forced fumbles, four tackles for loss and 18 QB hits.

Like Kerrigan and Matthews, Orakpo doesn’t have great speed (81), but he’s immensely strong (90), allowing him to be a force in the run game. His block shedding (72) needs work, but with that strength and good tackling (85) he will be a quality option at outside linebacker for any 3-4 defense.

Other star outside linebackers

Name Team OVR Development Trait Contract 2018 Cap Hit
Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens 86 Quick 1yr/$5.72m $5.72m
Nigel Bradham Philadelphia Eagles 85 Quick 5yrs/$35m $6.51m
Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings 84 Quick 1yr/$7.35m $7.35m
Dont’a Hightower New England Patriots 84 Quick 3yrs/$18.3m $5.7m
Myles Jack Jacksonville Jaguars 84 Star 2yrs/$3.3m $1.5m
Tahir Whitehead Oakland Raiders 84 Quick 3yrs/$15m $4.77m
Thomas Davis Sr Carolina Panthers 83 Normal 1yr/$4.57m $4.57m
KJ Wright Seattle Seahawks 83 Quick 1yr/$8.85m $8.85m
Nick Perry Green Bay Packers 82 Quick 4yrs/$31.97m $7.4m
Olivier Vernon New York Giants 82 Quick 3yrs/$51.3m $14.8m
Shaquil Barrett Denver Broncos 81 Quick 1yr/$2.91m $2.91m
De’vondre Campbell Atlanta Falcons 81 Quick 2yrs/$1.53m $660k
Pernell McPhee Washington Redskins 81 Normal 1yr/$1.35m $1.35m
Whitney Mercilus Houston Texans 81 Quick 2yrs/$13.65m $5.58m
Matthew Judon Baltimore Ravens 80 Quick 2yrs/$1.34m $620k
Shaq Thompson Carolina Panthers 80 Quick 2yrs/$10.16m $5m
TJ Watt Pittsburgh Steelers 80 Quick 3yrs/$7.05m $2.22m


Toby Durant