ESPN's Ron Jaworski spent a big chunk of the offseason watching every minute of game tape for each NFL starting quarterback, and has spent the past month ranking them and then breaking them down for "SportsCenter."
On Monday, Jaworski revealed his ninth-ranked quarterback entering the 2012 season: Baltimore's Joe Flacco. And while praising the fifth-year Ravens QB, he said that Flacco has the strongest arm in the league.
"That's Flacco's No. 1 attribute," said Jaworski, who made 143 career NFL starts. "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 said that Flacco gives the Ravens "the ability to attack all areas of the field at any point in the game." And according to data from Pro Football Focus, only seven quarterbacks have thrown the deep ball more frequently the past three seasons than Flacco, who chucked the ball at least 20 yards 225 yards during that span.
"The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger," said Jaworski, who played for four teams, most notably the Eagles. "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 completed a career-low 57.6 percent of his passes in 2011 for 3,610 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 12 interceptions tied a career-high and he fumbled the ball nine times, also a dubious career-high. He ranked 26th in completion percentage and his quarterback rating (80.9) was 18th. But the stat Jaworski seemed to care about most was winning percentage, as he pointed out that Flacco has won 69 percent of his career regular-season starts.
Jaworski said "there are very few quarterbacks in the NFL with the pure throwing ability of Joe Flacco." So why isn't Joe higher on the list? He feels "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," the ESPN analyst explained.