DENVER - AUGUST 29: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
It's unclear whether Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has ever set foot in a barn - he may have. But he gets called "Barn Strong" a lot, which is one of the more fun compliments one can pay a football player.
It's one of the many ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski called Roethlisberger in explaining why the two-time Super Bowl champion passer is ranked No. 6 on his list of the top 30 veteran quarterbacks in the NFL.
That's a pretty accomplished position, considering the company surrounding him.
The top five, in order is, New York Giants QB Eli Manning, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
Jaworski on Roethlisberger:
oethlisberger is the strongest quarterback in the NFL. He not only extends plays with movement out of the pocket, but also with his natural strength IN the pocket. He's 'barn strong.' At times, there's a 'make it up as you go' style to Roethlisberger's game.
Here's what Roethlisberger does not get enough credit for: his ability to make throws consistently from the pocket. I charted all 60 of his 20-plus-yard completions in 2011. Only five came outside the pocket. In fact, time and time again he showed one of the most central attributes necessary to play at a high level in the NFL: the willingness to look down the gun barrel and deliver the football. This throw against the Bengals was a great example. There was a free rusher from Ben's front side. He saw him. He drove a tight throw into a small window.
In 2011, Roethlisberger was most effective out of multiple tight end personnel. He completed almost 73 percent with nine of his 21 touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 125. That was the shot-play personnel package.
I have seen a lot of growth from Roethlisberger in recent seasons. Once undisciplined and inconsistent in the pocket, he is now much improved. At No. 6 on my Big Board, Roethlisberger's on the cusp of becoming elite.