Picard wasn't simply given the Enterprise. He earned it due to his outstanding service record aboard the Stargazer. He was already a legendary figure before he commanded Enterprise.
Was he, now?
He wasn't being given any new starships during the time he was aboard the Stargazer
. If he spent just five years commanding the old relic, fine. But if he were stuck as the CO of an outdated tub for more than a decade, it actually makes him a loser.
And speaking of losing, among the things he lost was his starship. Is that really a recommendation?
The mechanism by which Picard got the Enterprise
was never properly explored in the episodes or movies. Perhaps getting the Federation Flagship is primarily a matter of knowing the right people, or being an acclaimed diplomat who also happens to be on Starfleet payroll in some suitable capacity, one of these being starship CO. Riker wouldn't have these paths open to him if the E-D really was his one goal in life.