Each and every Sunday, NFL offenses must scour the field in search of the biggest defenses play makers and find a way to take them out of the game. We have compiled a list of the 5 defenders offenses fear the most and must spend hours trying to find ways to neutralize. Sometimes even the best game plans fail… with these gentlemen on the field, that “sometimes” is a frequent occurrence. Here are the top 5 defenders you don’t want to face in the real NFL or in Madden NFL 25!
#5. Patrick Willis MLB, San Francisco 49ers
As leader of one of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL, inside linebacker Patrick Willis is the most heralded defender and the player opposing offenses have to game plan for. Willis has been a force since day one in the NFL. As a rookie he made his presence felt immediately as he almost single handedly shut down opposing offenses running games and he has not slowed down one bit since then. In his six seasons in the league he has tallied over 800 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, 49 passes defensed, and 14 forced fumbles.
Mr. Willis excels in playing downhill, his overall speed and agility allow him to make plays from sideline to sideline. He is great at diagnosing the play, and eliminating runners to cut back. In six short seasons he has proved himself to be an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate each and every season.
The Bottom Line:
Good luck running the ball with Patrick Willis on the field. His Speed, Agility, Acceleration, Awareness, Block Shed, and Play Recognition are all top notch compared to other defenders. Willis is the total package and will harass your offense in Madden NFL 25 to the point that you might end up breaking your controller.
#4. Richard Sherman CB, Seattle Seahawks
Standing 6’3” and weighing in at 195 lbs, Richard Sherman is one of the biggest cornerbacks in the NFL. His physicality has become the stuff of legend around the league as he has become the top “Press Corner” in just 2 seasons. Sherman is deceptively strong at the line of scrimmage, able to play bump and run coverage against the bigger receivers such as Lion’s WR Calvin Johnson. However, interrupting routes at the line is only part of the package. When receivers finally do get off the line, Sherman is all over them like glue. His 6’3” frame allows him to go up in the air versus any receiver and break up the jump balls.
In the 2012 season, Sherman accounted for 64 tackles, 1 quarterback sack, 24 passes defensed, 8 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles. What does that mean? When quarterbacks were foolish enough to test him… he made a play.
The Bottom Line:
Testing Richard Sherman in Madden NFL 25 is borderline offensive suicide. Even running in his direction isn’t smart as he is a very good tackler. Sherman is the quintessential lockdown cornerback, all NFL teams and Madden NFL users covet players with his skill set in their defenses. Stay away from him if you hope to sustain any sort of offensive production.
#3. Bernard Pollard SS, Tennessee Titans
Coming in at number 3 is one of the most underappreciated defenders in NFL today. Bernard Pollard has done nothing but make huge plays for every team he has been a part of, then is allowed to leave for greener pastures. Pollard will most likely never grab 6 interceptions a season. He will, however, strike fear into the heart of the offensive players. Versus the run he is a tackling machine, racking up 90+ tackles a season several times. That is all fine and good, but amount of tackles does not put him on this list. What makes him one of the NFL’s most feared defenders is that many of those tackles are absolutely vicious.
Bernard plays with a ferocity not seen since the days of Ronnie Lott and Eric Turner. He hits people so hard you would think they stole something from his Grandmother. Against the New England Patriots he connected with vicious hits on Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and knocked Steven Ridley out cold. Whether he is playing run support or a short zone, he will force ball carriers to run out of bounds and think twice about entering his area. That is a real game changer.
The Bottom Line:
In Madden NFL 25, Bernard Pollard adds a real danger to the Tennessee Titans defense. Send receivers across the middle if you dare, it’s a turnover waiting to happen… and the receiver may not make it back to the huddle.
#2. Von Miller OLB, Denver Broncos
At 6’3” 250lbs, Denver linebacker Von Miller is a handful even on a bad day (which he has yet to have). Miller is a ball of lightning when the ball is snapped. When he is on the field, quarterbacks are in big trouble. Von is a playmaker in every sense, Miller’s first NFL snap resulted in a forced fumble… giving fans just a taste of what was to come. He finished his rookie year with 11.5 sacks and 29 hurries.
While some would assume he would have a sophomore slump, Miller exploded early in his second season notching 10 sacks in the first nine games. He finished the season with 18.5 sacks, further showing that he is one of the top pass rushers in the NFL.
The Bottom Line:
In the NFL and in Madden NFL 25, Von Miller is someone you have to identify on every down. He plays fast and moves faster, the hard hits will come by the dozen as he terrorizes your quarterback and catches running backs from behind.
#1. J.J. Watt DL, Houston Texans
J.J. Watt is the epitome of “The Most Feared Defender in the NFL”. While many defenders rack up sacks, very few of them have the total package and can take over several facets of the game. The most dominant and game-changing defensive player in the NFL are usually terms reserved for 4-3 pass-rushing defensive ends, or lockdown corners, and even a ball-hawking safety.
In the modern day NFL we have never seen 3-4 defensive lineman dominate like J.J. Watt did in 2012. J.J. recorded a near NFL record 20.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, and 81 tackles. Each one of those statistics individually are impressive for a defensive lineman, but together they make for one of the greatest defensive seasons of all time. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is that Watt defensed 16 passes over the course of the season. That is a stat normally reserved for a defensive back.
The Bottom Line:
Just as in the real NFL, in Madden NFL 25 you must load up on pass protection and find ways to get rid of the ball early and with a clear passing window. Whether you are trying to run or pass, J.J. will find you… he will hurt you… he will destroy you. You can run from him, but you can’t hide. The end is near.
What’s your take on Buckeye’s list above? Do you agree with his Top 5 Most Feared Defenders in the NFL, with an eye on Madden NFL 25? Who would you add or remove from this list? Let us know in our Community Forums here at Under The Code!