I think Picard's intelligence and good analytical skills was the character's redeeming quality. And Stewart pulled this off well. Picard seemed to me to be a character whom you would have full confidence in his ability to reason out/suss out a situation. He's kind of like a wise father/grandfather figure one can look up to.
Picard was not the only well acted captain though. I think Brooks on the whole played Sisko well, since Sisko is a person who does let anybody mess with him.