Joe Flacco is a better quarterback than the Saints' Drew Brees and Falcons' Matt Ryan, according to ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski.
In Jaworski's highly-cited yearly ranking of all 32 projected starting quarterbacks, the former NFL gunslinger ranks Flacco No. 4 overall.
Flacco trails only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, New England's Tom Brady and Denver's Peyton Manning (in no particular order). Flacco is ranked ahead of Ryan, Brees, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, New York's Eli Manning and more.
Jaworski's top four quarterbacks all have Super Bowl rings, and Flacco has the newest. The reigning Super Bowl MVP moved up from No. 9 in Jaworski's rankings last year.
"A year ago I had Flacco at No. 9. Many disagreed," Jaworski said on SportsCenter. "All I heard last summer was that Flacco needed to take the next step. So what did Flacco do in 2012? He won four consecutive playoff games, threw 11 touchdown passes without an interception."
Flacco averaged 239 passing yards per game in the regular season and tossed 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, giving him a quarterback rating of 87.7 (12th in the NFL).
He took off in the playoffs, where he averaged 285 passing yards per game, tied Joe Montana's touchdown to interception ratio and finished with a collective quarterback rating of 117.2.
"For the second consecutive season, [Flacco] outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC championship game in Foxborough," Jaworski said.
Jaworski, who has touted Flacco as having the strongest arm in the NFL, didn't bring up Flacco's cannon this time around. Instead, he focused on his mobility in Super Bowl XLVII.
Flacco completed a 30-yard bomb to Anquan Boldin when he was scrambling away from a sack. Flacco stepped up and flung a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones.
"Flacco was outstanding in the Super Bowl. His ability to make downfield throws on movement was a deciding factor in the game," Jaworski said. "Few think of Flacco as a mobile quarterback, but his functional mobility created explosive game-changing plays."
In the end, it's the ring on Flacco's hand that made Jaworski rank him so high, including above Ryan, who has yet to reach the Super Bowl.
"Joe Flacco is now a Super Bowl champion," Jaworski said. "That counts an awful lot in my evaluation of quarterbacks."