Defensive ends can be one of the most exciting positions in the sport. And if you are a novice Madden user, the chances are that you will user one of your DE’s when on defense.
The best player for you will depend on whether you run a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. If you have a 4-3, you will want fast players with better pass rushing stats. If in a 3-4, then it is better to have bigger, stronger ends that can fill the gaps.
With that in mind, who are the best players to sit on the right side of the defensive line in Madden 20?
JJ Watt, Houston Texans (97 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (99), Play Recognition (98), Tackle (97), Strength (97), Impact Blocking (94), Power Move (94), Pursuit (94), Finesse (93), Block Shed (90), Hit Power (87), Acceleration (83)
JJ Watt is entering his 9th season since being drafted 11th overall in 2011 – and he has been an elite defensive lineman from day 1. The 5x Pro Bowler has had not one, but two, 20.5 sack seasons and but for injuries in recent years he may have been in the 99 club.
Coming off an impressive 16 sack comeback season, Watt gives the incredible awareness (99) and play recognition (98) you’d expect from someone who’s been elite for so long. He is a physical specimen, with strength (97) and acceleration (83). His technical ability is also elite with both types of moves covered; power (94) and finesse (93).
His injury (83) is very low for Madden and reflects his recent history – so if you do have him in a franchise mode, make sure you get adequate back up.
Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars (92 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (96), Block Shed (93), Play Recognition (93), Strength (92), Tackle (92), Impact Blocking (89), Finesse Move (89), Pursuit (89), Hit Power (85), Power Moves (84)
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One of the elder statesmen of defense, Calais Campbell was a 2nd rounder in 2008. Campbell was consistently good for many years in Arizona, however it wasn’t until he moved to Jacksonville that he joined the elite players in the league. Double digit sacks in each of the last 2 years with the team, he’s a leader on and off the field for the franchise.
At 6’8″ and 300lbs, you’d think Campbell was all about power moves (84). But he’s actually more known for finesse (89) and silky block shed (93). That said, when he hits you know about it with hit power (85) and tackle (92). As you’d expect with a team leader, he’s remaining focused with awareness (96) and won’t fall for trick plays with his play recognition (93).
Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints (91 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (97), Play Recognition (97), Block Shed (92), Power Moves (92), Impact Blocking (92), Strength (91), Pursuit (89), Tackle (89), Hit Power (84)
Not to be confused with Jordan Cameron, this guy is the DE drafted late in the 1st round of 2011 draft. An 8 year veteran, Jordan has been consistent throughout each season notching up 71.5 sacks over his career. There is no reason not to expect another great season from Jordan, and the Saints responded by signing him to a three-year, $52.5 million contract extension with $42 million guaranteed, keeping him under contract through the 2023 season.
As a pass rusher, Jordan favors power moves (92), with elite block shed (92) and impact blocking (92). As with the other players at the top of this list, Jordan has elite awareness (97) and play recognition (97). His strength (92) is high for a smaller end.
As a run stuffer, Jordan uses good strength (91) to get off blocks and pursuit (89) can hunt the runner down, with tackle (89) and hit power (84) potentially forcing fumbles.
DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (89 OVR)
Best Stats: Finesse Moves (95), Awareness (94), Power Moves (89), Play Recognition (89), Block Shed (88), Pursuit (88), Acceleration (88), Strength (86), Hit Power (84), Impact Blocking (83), Tackle (82)
DeMarcus Lawrence had a quiet first 3 years in the league due to injury and off the field issues. Since then however, Lawrence has been to back-to-back Pro Bowls and solidified himself as one of the best pass rushers in the league.
One of only a handful of players that combine elite finesse moves (95) with power moves (89), Lawrence will get to the QB. Block shed (88) will see him free a lot, and hit power (84) will lead to plenty of QB fumbles on the sacks.
At 265lbs, he’s slightly smaller which is reflected in strength (86) and tackle (82).
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Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers (88 OVR)
Best Stats: Finesse Moves (97), Awareness (93), Play Recognition (91), Impact Blocking (90), Power Moves (89), Acceleration (87), Agility (87), Strength (87), Pursuit (83)
Joey Bosa was one of the most exciting young players in the league until a foot injury hampered his 2018 season. Taken at 3rd overall in 2016, Bosa already has a Pro Bowl and a Defensive Rookie of the Year under his belt.
Bosa’s overall rating could be considered low based on potential, but his finesse moves (97) and power moves (89) are both elite levels. As a hugely talented pass rusher, Bosa’s acceleration (87) and agility (87) are impressive. That doesn’t mean he won’t hold his own against the run with strength (87) and impact blocking (90).
One to pick up for the long term in franchise, I would expect these ratings to explode season to season depending on XP.
Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears (87 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (95), Play Recognition (96), Strength (93), Block Shed (91), Impact Blocking (89), Power Moves (88), Pursuit (88), Tackle (86)
Built to be a 3-4 defensive end, 332lb Akiem Hicks is bigger than some defensive tackles. A rare find in the 3rd round of 2012 draft, Hicks had a quiet start to his career. He bounced around teams until he found himself in Chicago where he blossomed with 7 sacks and a good run stopping record.
As a bigger end, Hicks strength (93) is huge. Combined with power moves (88) and block shed (91) he is a powerful player to get passed. He matches the other top players for awareness (95) and play recognition (96), so won’t be struggling to keep up with the offense. The finesse moves (69) are much lower than peers, but Hicks is trying to blow the linemen right back, not sneak past.
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Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings (86 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (91), Acceleration (90), Speed (88), Finesse Moves (87), Play Recognition (87), Pursuit (87), Block Shed (84), Impact Blocking (84), Tackle (83), Strength (81)
Another good young prospect, Danielle Hunter is a 6’5″, 252lb versatile pass rushing end. An early 3rd rounder in 2015, its surprising Hunter has only been to one Pro Bowl. With 14.5 sacks last year, Hunter was impressive not just getting to the QB but also 72 total tackles.
Whilst there is definitely a drop off from the rest of the list to Hunter, his finesse moves (87) and block shed (84) is still elite. He has top end positional speed (88) and acceleration (90), with good tackling (83).
With only 3 career forced fumbles, it’s not surprising to see low hit power (74) and strength (81).
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