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. For sure this isn’t the deepest position in this years Madden, but that can also mean you can steal a good trade in Franchise Mode if you know what to look for.
See below for the best at the Right Outside Linebacker (ROLB) position on Madden 20;
Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans (92 OVR)
Best Stats: Play Recognition (97), Pursuit (95), Awareness (95), Impact Block (93), Acceleration (90), Block Shed (89), Power Move (89), Speed (87), Agility (87), Tackle (86), Hit Power (86), Strength (84), Finesse Move (81)
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An enigma in the league, Jadeveon Clowney has had a rollercoaster start to his career. Houston drafted 1st overall in 2014, the first defensive player taken at this spot since the last time the Texans did it in 2006 on Mario Williams.
Despite a tough start with injuries, he has shown flashes of brilliance in his 5 seasons. Over the last 2 seasons, Clowney has accrued 18.5 sacks and 6 fumble recoveries, with 3 Pro Bowl appearances there’s no doubt he’s a top player for the position.
This pass rushing focus is reflected in Madden 20. Clowney is positionally dominant with power move (89), block shed (89) and acceleration (90). He will hit the impact block (93) and get off it quickly, look to get lots of sacks with him on the average QBs blindside. Agility (87), tackle (86) and strength (84) mean Clowney is a well-rounded elite player.
Telvin Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars (88 OVR)
This is odd as Telvin Smith won’t be playing in the NFL this season. Reason’s unknown but as a player Smith has been both consistent and multi faceted since being a steal in the 5th round of 2014 draft. At 6’3″, he is tall and athletic enough to play any Linebacker position, but has found a home as a coverage ROLB.
Last year was a stand out season for Smith, with 134 combined tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and a defensive touchdown. He’s everywhere on defense and the Jaguars will miss him.
On Madden, you need not worry about this. So take advantage of his energy with pursuit (94), acceleration (89) and tackle (88). His impact block (87) and block shed (87) allow him to get off run blockers and get to the ball carrier. His zone cover (78) is the highest on the list, and his man cover (73) isn’t far behind.
Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys (86 OVR)
Best Stats: Pursuit (91), Acceleration (91), Agility (89), Tackle (87), Speed (86), Play Recognition (84), Block Shed (82), Impact Block (82), Awareness (82), Hit Power (81), Strength (78), Zone Cover (73)
Leighton Vander Esch emerged from his rookie season as one of the best 1st round picks last year, and was a rare rookie appearance in the Pro Bowl. An impressive 140 combined tackles, 7 pass deflections and 2 interceptions – Vander Esch was all over the field. A strong tackler, and good in coverage, he is another player than can play multiple LB positions.
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Similar to Telvin Smith, Vander Esch leads with pursuit (91) and acceleration (91), offensive players will struggle to escape him. With elite tackling (87) and good hit power (81) they will also know when they’re caught. Whilst zone cover (73) looks low, it’s good for the position with only Telvin Smith scoring higher.
Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints (85 OVR)
Best Stats: Play Recognition (90), Acceleration (89), Pursuit (88), Hit Power (86), Speed (86), Awareness (86), Strength (85), Tackle (84), Impact Block (84), Agility (81), Block Shed (80), Zone Cover (71)
Demario Davis was rejuvenated by his move to New Orleans. Having bounced around a bit last year he found a role combining run stopping tackles with some pass rushing pressure on the QB. Davis has 110 combined tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 5 sacks in the 2018 season and, whilst he’s ageing many expect him to play a key role in the Saints defense.
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Davis has a lot of the key stats you would expect. High play recognition (90), pursuit (88) and tackle (84) will help him be in and around the pigskin on every play. Hit power (86) is higher than a lot of his peers so you can expect to see the ball come out too. Zone cover (71) is ok, but could be better. Davis will be a solid player, but expect a steep drop off after a season or two in franchise – it could be worth trading in for value now.
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals (85 OVR)
Best Stats: Pursuit (90), Awareness (90), Impact Block (87), Strength (87), Acceleration (86), Play Recognition (86), Tackle (85), Power Move (85), Agility (81), Hit Power (80), Finesse Move (75)
It was a surprise when the Patriots traded the huge 6’5″ Chandler Jones to the Cardinals for a 2nd round pick in 2015, as they had used a 1st rounder on him 3 years earlier. A clear pass rusher in 3-4 defenses, Jones has been a sack monster. He has racked up 77 sacks in 7 seasons, even leading the league in 2017.
As you would expect, impact block (87) and strength (87) are highlights. Block shed (73) is unrealistically low, but power move (85) is right up there with the best and tackle (85) and pursuit (90) will help stop the run.
Dont’a Hightower, New England Patriots (83 OVR)
Best Stats: Impact Blocking (91), Tackling (91), Hit Power (90), Awareness (89), Acceleration (87), Play Recognition (87), Strength (84), Pursuit (83), Speed (82), Power Move (78), Block Shed (74)
Another 1st round pick in these player lists, Dont’a Hightower was selected by the Patriots 25th overall in 2012. In his 7 seasons, Hightower has won 3 Super Bowls and been to a Pro Bowl. He was crucial in helping win Super Bowl LIII against the Rams at the end of last season.
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Hightower has some superb stats that are hidden below an artificially low overall. Overall is crucial in Madden for contract value to teams but also inexperienced users lean too heavily on it. Therefore, Hightower represents a bargain. The calculation is pulled down by play recognition (87) and awareness (89) without these making a huge difference to playing experience. A defensive leader with 3 Super Bowls should be much higher.
That said, impact blocking (91), tackling (91) and hit power (90) is a leading combination on the list. Very good strength (83) and power move (78) mean for a very well-rounded player. Speed (82) is a concern, so you wouldn’t want to leave open in coverage on obvious passing downs.
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo Bills (82 OVR)
Best Stats: Play Recognition (94), Awareness (92), Acceleration (87), Hit Power (86), Impact Blocking (84), Pursuit (84), Strength (83), Speed (82), Power Move (81), Tackle (80)
Drinking from the fountain of youth, Lorenzo Alexander is entering his 14th season in the NFL. He has been on 6 different teams in his time since going undrafted in 2005. He’s worked his way to being a defensive leader through pass rushing abilities and had some great success at Buffalo. He has had 22 sacks since joining Buffalo, compared with 9 sacks in the 11 seasons prior.
As an older player, Alexander has seen everything before and has elite awareness (92) and play recognition (94). He is a strength (83) player with high hit power (86) and pursuit (84). He powers past blockers with power move (81) and brings down runners with tackle (80).
Could be a golden oldie for a season, but expect him to retire soon in franchise mode.
|Leighton Vander Esch||DAL||86||23||78||87||82||63||73|
|Thomas Davis Sr||LAC||79||36||72||88||71||64||69|
|Harold Landry III||TEN||78||23||78||81||71||71||58|
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