Madden NFL games tend to put the focus on the offensive side of the ball through both the cover athletes they choose, as well as the gameplay improvements. In Madden 20, the Superstar X-Factor abilities affect both sides of the ball, so the defense is also getting love in 2019.
Casual NFL fans will know the names of offensive stars, but the guys shutting them down often are only appreciated by NFL enthusiasts. It's time to bring the players you'll use to stop Mahomes and other offensive studs into the light. Here's a look at 10 defensive players that can shut down your opponent in Madden 20, ranked.
10 Derwin James
One of the most satisfying feelings you get playing the Madden games is when you come down hard with a safety and completely obliterate the ball-carrier. Few safeties in the league posses this type of hit power, but thankfully a rookie from last year showed that he might continue the legacy of Brian Dawkins, Kam Chancellor, and many more before them.
Derwin James is a complete safety that can cover tight ends and also come down into the box and lay a hit. The Los Angeles Chargers have a pillar for years to come in their secondary.
9 Luke Kuechly
Concussions have played a defining role in Luke Kuechly's career and have halted his performance more than any offensive lineman or blocking scheme has. Simply turning on the television and seeing him play, you'll quickly realize how familiar he is to the likes of Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher.
He's a true sideline-to-sideline middle linebacker who commands a defense and is a true leader by every definition of the word. Hopefully, the concussion issues are behind him and he can return to elite form in the upcoming 2019 NFL season.
8 Eddie Jackson
How does a supremely talented safety out of the perennial powerhouse like Alabama fall so far in the draft? Well, the answer to that would be an injury. Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Pace has made a career on high-value middle-to-late round picks centered on top guys who fall down boards for certain reasons.
Eddie Jackson has come into the league and has shown instincts and an ability to score on the defensive side of the ball in a way the league really hasn't seen since Ed Reed's prime. With 10 starters returning, look for Jackson to continue in his greatness for the Bears in 2018.
7 JJ Watt
JJ Watt has managed to do the impossible. He's missed numerous seasons to injury and still manages to be one of the biggest defensive disruptors in the entire NFL. He's been in the NFL 8 years and through only 6 complete seasons, he's racked up 92 totals sacks, thanks in large part to having 2 seasons where he managed to get 20+ sacks.
If JJ Watt retired tomorrow, he'd already be an NFL Hall of Famer thanks to his impressive numbers. Pairing him with Jadaveon Clowney has made the Houston Texans pass rush scary.
6 Eric Weddle
Eric Weddle has managed to go from San Diego to Baltimore, and most recently Los Angeles, and quietly has been one of the best safeties in the league. Weddle isn't the fastest guy on the field, he also isn't the strongest. Most of his success comes from preparation and instincts.
The Utah Ute has proven that he can work the back-end of a defense and provide leadership in a way few others can. During the 2019 NFL offseason, Weddle signed with the Los Angeles Rams in hopes of helping an already talented team overcome the hump and lift that Lombardi trophy come February.
5 Jalen Ramsey
The world is full of cruel irony, so often it's best to air on the cautious side, just in case things don't go your way. Before the 2018 season kicked off, star NFL cornerback Jalen Ramsay was asked about current NFL starting quarterbacks and shared his honest opinions, which mostly resulted in him saying they were trash or overrated.
It turns out he didn't account for his own signal caller, as the Jacksonville Jaguars severally under-performed and struggled during the 2018 season. With his contract looming, look for Ramsey to continue his All-Pro play despite his team's overall performance.
4 Bobby Wagner
Imagine being the last piece left of what was once considered the NFL's best defense since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens or 1985 Chicago Bears. Bobby Wagner is currently in that position as Earl Thomas found a new home in Baltimore during the offseason.
Wagner is currently in line for a very profitable extension, but fans are worried he may get traded by the Seattle Seahawks in favor of them breaking the bank. Wagner is an every-down linebacker worthy of the checkbook and has proven himself as a model of consistency and leadership.
3 Von Miller
Now, Von Miller and Khalil Mack are pretty interchangeable on this list due to both of them being game-wrecking pass rushers. Mack gets the slight edge in terms of run-defending, but that doesn't mean that Miller is a slouch.
He's been one of the most consistent pieces to a Denver Broncos roster that's seen a lot of turnover post-Peyton Manning Super Bowl appearances. Miller has managed to rack up sacks every year, and with a new young and effective pass rusher opposite of him in Bradley Chubb, those numbers aren't going anywhere.
2 Khalil Mack
Right before the 2018 NFL season was set to begin, the league was hit with the blockbuster trade that sent a bevy of picks from the Chicago Bears to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for their cornerstone future NFL great, Khalil Mack.
Despite a lack of time and preparation, Mack quickly found himself at the core of a Chicago Bears defense that was the league's best in almost every category. With a year of familiarity, look for Mack to build on his 2018 campaign of 12+ sacks and 5 forced fumbles and show once again that the Bears won the trade outright.
1 Aaron Donald
Rightfully considered the NFL's best player by most people, Aaron Donald may go down as a generation-defining talent. Donald has managed to disrupt games from the defensive tackle position in a way the league hasn't seen since Warren Sapp's best days in the early 2000s.
He manages to be such a disruptive force thanks in large part to having the strength of a man twice his size and the physique of an athlete half his size. At points in 2018, he singlehandedly carried an underperforming Los Angeles Rams defense.