Madden 20 Ratings: All the best Strong Safeties (SS) in franchise mode (PS4 & Xbox One)

An elite strong safety can be the perfect defender to use. Who are the best at the position?


Strong safeties exist on a spectrum from ball hawks who can pick off the best QB’s to run defenders who can force fumbles anywhere on the field.

The youth of the top players at the position stands out about the 2019 class. A lot of teams have used high picks recently to get some exciting talent, and that means in a Madden franchise there’s a lot of scope to lock up a top SS for many in game years.

There are still some familiar names on this list that will be threatening the Hall of Fame when they finally hang up their boots.

These are the best strong safeties Madden 20’s franchise mode has to offer.

Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings (94 OVR)

Age: 30

Best Stats: Zone Cover (93), Hit Power (93), Pursuit (93), Play Recognition (93), Agility (92), Acceleration (91), Awareness (90), Speed (87), Tackle (84), Man Cover (80)

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In his 6 seasons, Harrison Smith has been to 4 Pro Bowls. He’s racked up 9 sacks and 17 Interceptions and is widely considered the best strong safety in the league. 

At 6’2″ and 218 lbs, Smith is fairly big for the position. This allows him to have elite hit power (93). He has top end acceleration (91), pursuit (93) and agility (92) to help him hunt offensive playmakers down.

A mainstay of the Vikings system, his zone cover (93) is amongst the highest. Although, man cover (80) is less than you would want from an elite player.

Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles (92 OVR)

Age: 31

Best Stats: Play Recognition (96), Zone Cover (94), Awareness (93), Acceleration (91), Agility (90), Jump (90), Speed (86), Pursuit (84), Man Cover (81), Hit Power (81), Press (80), Tackle (76)

The most decorated member of this list, Malcolm Jenkins has 2 Super Bowls, 3 Pro Bowls, 17 Interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and 7 defensive touchdowns in his 10 seasons since being drafted 14th overall in 2009.

His zone cover (94) is a positional best. As an older player, his play recognition (96) and awareness (93) is very good. Despite a slightly slower speed (86) because of age, his acceleration (91) and agility (90) is still up there with the best.

Man cover (81) is not the highest, and press (80) with tackle (76) means he can be vulnerable in man coverage, but as far a cover 2 safety goes – you will struggle to get better.

Jamal Adams, New York Jets (90 OVR)

Age: 23

Best Stats: Hit Power (95), Speed (91), Play Recognition (91), Zone Cover (90), Pursuit (90), Acceleration (90), Agility (87), Man Cover (86), Awareness (85), Tackling (80)

A huge 6th overall pick in 2017, Jamal Adams has made a huge impression on the league. He’s smart, and with 5.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in just 2 seasons – he’s getting results.

An exciting young talent, Adams has immense hit power (95). With impressive stats across the board, he’s a menace. Speed (91) and acceleration (90) allow him to keep up with the best receivers. Zone cover (90) and man cover (86) is a good mix of the two disciplines.

Awareness (85) and tackling (80) are lower than you would want, but as a young player this you can work on this easily through XP in franchise.

READ MORE: The best LTs in Franchise Mode

Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons (88 OVR)

Age: 24

Best Stats: Hit Power (96), Pursuit (91), Play Recognition (89), Acceleration (88), Speed (87), Agility (87), Zone Cover (86), Awareness (84), Press (81), Man Cover (78), Tackling (76)

One of the most exciting players on the list, Keanu Neal missed the whole of last season because of an ACL tear. Another 1st round pick, Neal has a reputation for a high motor and a hit power. Effectively playing 2 seasons, Neal already has 8 forced fumbles to his name. 

READ MORE: The best CBs in Franchise Mode

As you would expect, hit power (96) is the highest for the position. Neal adds pursuit (91) and play recognition (89) as he won’t stop until the play is dead. Zone cover (86) is decent with speed (87) and acceleration (88) just enough to not be detrimental.

To be one of the better SS’s, you would want Neal to have better press (81) and Man Cover (78) – but the expectation is that Neal is best when hitting ball carriers or rushing on a safety blitz.

Adrian Amos Jr, Green Bay Packers (87 OVR)

Age: 26

Best Stats: Speed (93), Acceleration (92), Zone Cover (89), Pursuit (89), Play Recognition (87), Hit Power (85), Agility (85), Awareness (85), Man Cover (80), Press (78), Tackling (73)

Bucking the trend of this list by being a 5th round pick, Adrian Amos is also bucking trend by being one of few players brave enough to move between rival teams in the Bears and Packers. Amos hasn’t set the world alight in his 4 seasons with his 3 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions and 2 sacks. But he racks up the tackles and have a nose for the ball.

He has elite speed (93) and acceleration (92), with top end zone cover (89). He will hunt ball carriers with pursuit (89). He is a great deep cover 2 safety.

His man cover (80), press (78) and tackling (73) means you don’t want to leave him 1-on-1 with the leagues best receivers, but he works really well as part of a disciplined offense. 

Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City Chiefs (87 OVR)

Age: 27

Best Stats: Acceleration (92), Agility (92), Speed (90), Press (87), Awareness (86), Man Cover (85), Hit Power (84), Zone Cover (83), Play Recognition (83), Pursuit (82), Tackling (74)

Given the nickname ‘Honey Badger’ for his knack of causing turnovers during his college years, Tyrann Mathieu has had a tumultuous offseason with challenges off the field. He has moved around the last few seasons and struggled to re-live his Pro Bowl 2015 season where he racked up 5 interceptions.

Top end physical stats like acceleration (92), agility (92) and speed (90) mean he can keep up with the best offensive players. Press (87) and man cover (85) are his bread and butter, but with fairly good zone cover (83) too. 

Hit power (84) and pursuit (82) isn’t bad and give Mathieu a well-rounded base to build from. The player that will fit into any defense well, without being a bonafide star.

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Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers (86 OVR)

Age: 23

Best Stats: Acceleration (92), Hit Power (91), Speed (90), Agility (89), Play Recognition (86), Pursuit (83), Man Cover (83), Awareness (83), Press (82), Zone Cover (81), Tackling (77)

Another 1st round pick on this list, Derwin James has left Chargers fans excited from his 3.5 sack and 3 interception rookie campaign. He showed glimpses of being a dominant safety and wants to be a big game player

Elite acceleration (92) and hit power (91) means James will be in the opposition’s face brutally quickly. Consistent man cover (83) and zone (81) can be developed, but offer a very good starting place for a leader on defense.

Tackling (77) could lead to some missed tackles, but when he connects properly, the balls coming out. Definitely a player to sniff out if there’s a trade available.

PlayerTeamOVRAgeSPDAGITAKPOWMCVZCV
Harrison SmithMIN9430879284938093
Malcolm JenkinsPHI9231869076818194
Jamal AdamsNYJ9023908780958690
Keanu NealATL8824878776967886
Adrian Amos JrGB8726938573858089
Tyrann MathieuKC8727909274848583
Derwin JamesLAC8623908977918381
Kareem JacksonDEN8631888572798389
Tony Jefferson IIBAL8527858176887782
John Johnson IIILAR8523859377858287
Jabrill PeppersNYG8423908978877978
Landon CollinsWAS8325888379937177

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Tom Owen

79

Contributor. I joined RealSport in 2019 contributing to Madden content.

I have followed the NFL for 15 years since playing Madden 2004, alongside being an avid life long gamer. I have been in a national Madden franchise league called NFL Out of Hours for 5 years.

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