Jaws QB Countdown: Flacco at No. 9

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
4:57
PM ET
In reaching the top 10 in his ranking of the top veteran quarterbacks in the NFL, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski unveiled what will be his most scrutinized selection -- the Ravens' Joe Flacco is No. 9.

Jaworski placed Flacco ahead of the likes of Tony Romo (No. 10), Matt Ryan (No. 11), Michael Vick (No. 12), Matt Schaub (No. 13), Matthew Stafford (No. 14) and Cam Newton (No. 15).

What makes Flacco stand out to Jaworski is his arm strength.

"That's Flacco's No. 1 attribute," Jaworski said. "I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It's far more important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL."

Jaworski added, "The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger. Few recognize that because there is no quantifiable means by which to evaluate throws that are not made by quarterbacks with lesser arm strength. It's all about dimensions. Flacco gives you the ability to attack all areas of the field at any point in the game."

Some might not put Flacco in the top half of NFL quarterbacks because of statistics. Last season, Flacco didn't finish in the top 10 in completion rate (26th), passing yards (12th), touchdowns (13th) or quarterback rating (18th).

But Flacco did throw 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. That's comparable to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

The other impressive number with Flacco is victories.

"In his four seasons, Flacco has won 69 percent of his regular-season starts," Jaworski said. "How about this? He's started nine playoff games, eight of them on the road, and he's won five of them. Now that's impressive."

Flacco took some heat in April when he said he was "the best" quarterback in the NFL. But Jaworski apparently doesn't see Flacco that far off from being an elite quarterback.

"There are very few quarterbacks in the NFL with the pure throwing ability of Joe Flacco," Jaworski said. "The reason Joe is No. 9 and not higher is his production does not always match his skill set. If he can become more consistent in 2012, he will move up in my quarterback rankings."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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