When choosing what linebackers to run with, a lot depends on your defensive scheme. In the list below, there is a mix of pass rushers and coverage guys. Rightly or wrongly, a good pass rusher gets more attention and therefore a higher overall rating in Madden.
That means you can get a bit of a steal if you trade for some talent in this list that don't have 90+ ratings. Regardless of what defense you use, having a strong set of linebackers is often the easiest way to improve your defense in Madden.
They have a hand in every aspect of the game, from run defense, pressuring the quarterback, and covering receivers. If you have a good one you know just how many tackles they can rack up, if you don't you'll know how many they can miss.
These are the best left outside linebackers in Madden 20.
Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears (99 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (99), Play Recognition (99), Power Moves (97), Pursuit (95), Tackle (94), Block Shed (93), Finesse Moves (92), Impact Blocking (90), Acceleration (89), Strength (89), Hit Power (88), Agility (88), Speed (87)
One of only 4 members in the 99 club this year, Khalil Mack is an absolute monster. So much so, that when the Bears traded for him before the start of the last season they made him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. The 5th overall pick in 2014, Mack has racked up an incredible 53 sacks and 15 forced fumbles in 5 seasons.
As expected of a 99 club member, Mack starts with the awareness (99) and play recognition (99) of the most elite players. He combines power moves (97), finesse moves (92) and block shed (93) to be virtually unblockable.
He has elite tackle (94) and hit Power (88) stats, so expect fumbles from the opposition when Mack hits them. If the owner is even hinting at letting him go, sell the farm to get him.
Von Miller, Denver Broncos (97 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (99), Play Recognition (99), Pursuit (96), Power Moves (95), Block Shed (94), Tackle (93), Finesse Moves (90), Agility (90), Acceleration (89), Impact Block (89), Hit Power (89), Speed (87), Strength (84)
One of the few defensive players to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, Von Miller has been terrorizing offensive linemen since the Broncos took him 2nd overall in 2011. Out of Texas A&M, Miller has 4 First Team All-Pro honors as well as 98 sacks and 25 forced fumbles in 8 seasons in the NFL.
Again, high awareness (99) and play recognition (99) gets Miller's overall to its peak. An out-and-out pass rusher like Mack, Miller has elite power moves (95), block shed (94) and finesse moves (90).
There's very little drop off elsewhere with tackle (93), pursuit (96) and hit power (89). The only issue with Von Miller is his age. Some physical stats will decline and his value will go with it with each passing year in franchise mode.
Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins (87 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (95), Play Recognition (91), Power Moves (88), Impact Block (88), Hit Power (87), Pursuit (87), Acceleration (86), Strength (86), Tackle (85), Finesse Moves (82), Block Shed (80), Speed (80)
Taken in the same draft as Von Miller, 14 picks later, Ryan Kerrigan has had a standout career without reaching the same heights. He has 84.5 sacks and 25 forced fumbles in his 8 seasons with the Washington Redskins. He is also the all-time leader for consecutive starts by a left outside linebacker in NFL history.
There is a drop-off from the top 2 of this list but Kerrigan still offers quality. Slightly lower awareness (95) and play recognition (91), Kerrigan still has high power moves (88), impact block (88) and hit power (87).
Kerrigan also mixes good acceleration (86) with strength (86) to be the complete physical package. That said, he's another player that is getting older and will be hit by regression with each passing season of your franchise mode.
Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys (84 OVR)
Best Stats: Play Recognition (93), Awareness (91), Impact Block (89), Acceleration (87), Pursuit (87), Tackle (86), Hit Power (83), Speed (82), Block Shed (80), Zone Cover (71), Man Cover (66)
The first player in this list that is more focused on stopping the run and dropping into coverage, Sean Lee is a Dallas Cowboys legend. A 2nd rounder in 2010, he has been a model of consistency over his 9 seasons in the NFL. He has 695 tackles and 13 interceptions and 2 Pro Bowls. Although, this year sees him move to the strong side to focus on stopping the run as he gets older.
Despite his age, Lee's acceleration (87) is still up there with impact block (89), play recognition (93) and awareness (91). He will get to the ball with pursuit (87) and wrap up a tackle (86).
Speed (82) would be a concern when in obvious passing play coverage, and again his age means this will only get worse. That said, Lee has man cover (66) and zone cover (71) which are positional bests.
Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts (84 OVR)
Best Stats: Tackle (90), Play Recognition (89), Pursuit (89), Acceleration (86), Awareness (86), Speed (85), Block Shed (83), Hit Power (80),
The very definition of an all rounder, Darius Leonard had a superb rookie season after being taken in the 2nd round by the Colts in 2018. First Team All Pro selection, Defensive Rookie of the Year and leading the league in tackles is the best you can ask for in your first season. He also contributed with 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.
As you would expect from the tackle leader of the previous year, Leonard's tackle (90), pursuit (89) and play recognition (89) are all strong.
Acceleration (86) and speed (85) mean he is a handy user. Although, you might let the CPU make the most of man cover (66) and zone cover (64) - which might look low but positionally are good scores.
Cameron Wake, Tennessee Titans (84 OVR)
Best Stats: Awareness (92), Finesse Move (90), Impact Block (88), Hit Power (87), Pursuit (86), Acceleration (86), Strength (85), Play Recognition (84), Tackle (79),
Another player drinking from the fountain of youth, Cameron Wake has had a dream career despite going undrafted in 2005. After a few years of huge success in Canada, Wake found himself on the Dolphins roster and hasn't looked back in 10 seasons with them, and now the Titans. As a pass rusher, he has racked up 98 sacks and 22 forced fumbles in that time.
Fantastic finesse move (90) and hit power (87) are very useful in passing situations. Speed (79) means you will have to use situationally, but sometimes Wake can still be dominant and leverage strength (85) and impact block (88) to break offensive lines.
Expect him to retire first season in though.
Whitney Mercilus, Houston Texans (83 OVR)
Best Stats: Acceleration (89), Awareness (88), Impact Block (85), Tackle (85), Hit Power (85), Play Recognition (85), Pursuit (84), Power Move (84), Speed (81), Block Shed (78), Strength (78)
Whitney Mercilus is a good pass rusher on a team of sensational pass rushers. A 1st round pick in 2012, Mercilus plays on a team with Jadeveon Clowney (ROLB) and JJ Watt (LE) who get mentioned in our other lists, and there's talk of him moving around this season. It's hard to work out whether this helps or hinders the assessment of Mercilus but he has got 42.5 sacks and 9 forced fumbles in his own name.
Mercilus can get around the field with acceleration (89) and pursuit (84). His speed (81) is a little lower than you would like, but tackle (85) and hit power (85) means when he gets there the opponent is going down.
A power move (84) guy with block shed (78), if you end up with the Texans franchise you are stacked for mid age pass rushers. Mercilus could be the guy you deal to strengthen other areas.
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