Picard would be my favorite. To me, he pretty much epitomized what a Starfleet captain should be. A cultured man, calm in a crisis, a skilled diplomat and negotiator, who quietly won the loyalty and respect of his people by being quietly competent.
Archer... is the exact opposite. He often seemed panicked as if he was over his head much of the time. He seemed to have zero diplomatic skills, quarreled with his subordinates regularly, and never had a plan for anything. While he was good at improvising his way out of situations, he'd have avoided getting into most of them if he had just listened to his subordinates or done some planning ahead of time.
As for middle of the pack? Sisko, Kirk and Janeway in that order.