Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has been dealing with criticism since the Broncos turned heads by picking star Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round of the NFL draft. But yesterday, a major endorsement for Tebow came from an authoritative source: John Elway.

Elway tells 9News he thinks Tebow can play at the NFL level and gives the Broncos something to look forward to. “He’s got the potential, he won at the college ranks, and won the Heisman, so there is talent there, there’s a want there,” Elway tells 9News. “I think we have a great competitor, so that gives us hope.”

Tebow is one of the most successful college football players ever, but McDaniels still has his work cut out for him. A recent Associated Press piece quotes McDaniels as saying Tebow has the work ethic they thought he would have, but, in all fairness to McDaniels and Tebow, work ethic doesn’t win professional football games.

Tebow also has a big personality, which includes an overt Christianity that rubs some people the wrong way, according to Pro Football Talk. The Denver Post’s Woody Paige says it’s unfair to criticize Tebow’s religious fervor, likening him to former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Whether people like him or hate him, Tebow has been sucking up all the oxygen among media covering the rookie Denver Broncos, and there are several others who could help the team out.

One of them is offensive lineman Eric Olsen, a 6-foot-3-inch behemoth from Notre Dame. Olsen has a good chance to give the Broncos depth on the offensive line, and he also brings a touching history, which includes his father surviving the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center by a stroke of luck, according to The Denver Post (free registration required).