Clarence Hill’s top surprises at Dallas Cowboys training camp

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Gus Ruelas/AP

With the Dallas Cowboys opening their preseason schedule on Saturday in Denver against he Broncos, the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill picks his five biggest surprises at Cowboys training camp:

Dennis Houston: Third-round pick Jalen Tolbert was supposed to be the rookie wide receiver who made the quickest impact. But Houston, undrafted from Western Illinois, is getting first-team run ahead of Tolbert. He has the trust of Dak Prescott. He is where he is supposed to be and he catches the ball.

SS Markquese Bell: The undrafted rookie from Florida A&M has turned heads since he showed up for rookie minicamp. A hybrid safety/linebacker, the Cowboys compare him to starter Jayron Kearse. He is here to stay.

DE Mike Tafua: Tafua, an undrafted free agent from Utah who led the Pac-12 in sacks last year, just keeps showing up in practice. The Cowboys like his size and demeanor. The numbers are tight at defensive end but he impressed top scout Will McClay.

CB DaRon Bland: The fifth-round pick caught the eye of owner Jerry Jones at the start of camp for being around the ball and making plays. He still has a hill to climb because of the players in front of him at cornerback but he has the attention of the people who count.

WR/KR KaVontae Turpin: Turpin was on his couch at the start of training camp and seemingly still persona non grata by the NFL for a domestic violence arrest from his college days at TCU. Now he is a virtual lock for the Cowboys roster as the primary kick returner and getting looks as a slot receiver.