Defensive End (LDE/RDE)
1. Aaron Donald (LA Rams), 99
2=. Khalil Mack (Oakland), 98
2=. JJ Watt (Houston), 98
4. Cameron Jordan (New Orleans), 95
5. Brandon Graham (Philadelphia), 93
Khalil Mack scored defensive player of the year honours in 2017; Aaron Donald earned the same accolade in 2018, while JJ Watt was named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year – making the top three at the defensive end position as unsurprising as a Patriots’ AFC East championship. Throw in Saints end Cameron Jordan’s 13-sack 2017 season and this is a position that’s ridiculously stacked for Madden 19.
Defensive Tackle (DT)
1. Damon Harrison Sr (New York Giants), 95
2. Ndamukong Suh (LA Rams), 94
3. Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia), 93
4. Geno Atkins (Cincinnati), 91
5=. Linval Joseph (Minnesota), 90
5=. Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay), 90
Giants nose tackle Damon Harrison led the NFL in run-stop percentage from 2013 to 2016, cementing his rating as Madden 19’s biggest brick wall – and an astonishing feat given that he originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Quite the opposite of second-placed Ndamukong Suh, who was drafted second overall in 2010 and became the highest-paid player in NFL history on signing for Miami five years later.
Outside Linebacker (LOLB/ROLB)
1. Von Miller (Denver), 99
2. Sean Lee (Dallas), 96
3. Lavonte David (Tampa Bay), 95
4. Jadeveon Clowney (Houston), 91
5=. Telvin Smith (Jacksonville), 90
5=. Justin Houston (Kansas City), 90
According to Sporting News’ estimations Von Miller will be the best-paid non-quarterback in this season’s NFL; EA certainly believes he’ll live up to his $19million price tag, three seasons removed from Super Bowl MVP honours. Sean Lee’s incredible 145 combined tackles last time out more than justify his second placing on the list.
Middle Linebacker (MLB)
1. Luke Kuechly (Carolina), 99
2. Bobby Wagner (Dallas), 97
3. Deion Jones (Atlanta), 90
4. Zach Brown (Washington), 88
5. Reuben Foster (San Francisco), 87
Already adored well beyond the city limits of Charlotte, it’s been a spectacular 12 months for Luke Kuechly. The Boston College graduate picked off Brian Hoyer in a win over San Fran to kick off last season, going on to notch 74 tackles and be named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl. He then scored the 2017 Art Rooney award for outstanding sportsmanship, and has now been named the best in his field by EA for the third year running. Not bad, not bad.
1. Jalen Ramsey (Jacksonville), 97
2. AJ Bouye (Jacksonville), 94
3. Desmond Trufant (Atlanta), 93
4=. Patrick Peterson (Arizona), 92
4=. Xavier Rhodes (Minnesota), 92
NFL.com recently tabbed the Vikings and Jaguars’ secondaries as the best in the sport – so it’s hardly a surprise that three of the game’s top five cornerbacks come from those two squads. And it’s quite the turnaround for Jacksonville to have the top two, given the franchise was a laughing stock less than half a decade ago.
1. Harrison Smith (Minnesota), 97
2. Eric Berry (Kansas City), 96
3. Earl Thomas III (Seattle), 95
4. Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia), 94
5. Tyrann Mathieu (Houston), 93
Another compliment for the Minnesota secondary, as Harrison Smith earns best-safety honours after a season in which he amassed 61 tackles and 5 interceptions. No Jaguars on this list, though; their best placing at the position comes from one-time Cleveland thumper Tashaun Gipson, who’s rated 85 overall with 87 awareness and 88 acceleration.
1. Justin Tucker (Baltimore), 86
2=. Robbie Gould (San Francisco), 85
2=. Matt Bryant (Atlanta), 85
4. Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis), 84
5. Stephen Gostkowski (New England), 83
Justin Tucker’s record for the Ravens is staggering; he’s belted 80 out of 84 field goal attempts across the last two seasons, and in six years never missed an extra point – making 202 from 202. But Gould’s position on the list ranks as even more impressive. This time two years ago he was without a team after being cut by Chicago; he’s since rebounded to the point of kicking six field goals in one game as San Francisco overcame Tennessee 25-23 last December.
1. Johnny Hekker (LA Rams), 86
2. Chris Jones (Dallas), 85
3=. Sam Koch (Baltimore), 84
3=. Marquette King (Denver), 84
5. Dustin Colquitt (Kansas City), 83
Trivia question: how many NFL players have been a guest judge on Netflix cooking show Nailed It AND considered the best at their position by EA Tiburon’s attributes team? Yep, exactly one. Well played, Johnny Hekker. The thunder-calved Rams punter narrowly leads a crop of players who routinely wham the ball 50-odd yards. As for rookie Michael Dickson, who the Seahawks traded up to select in 2018’s fifth round: he’s rated 20th equal in the league, with an initial OVR of 77.
Madden 19 is out now. Wondering how to turn your nickels and dimes into onfield excellence? Then check out our 8 essential Madden 19 tips to know before you play.