The 2020 NFL Combine kicks off this week as 337 draft hopefuls will be poked and prodded in Indianapolis with all 32 teams in attendance.
The Bears are without a first-round pick once again this April, but it doesn't mean this week's event is any less meaningful. In fact, it's an even more important part of the evaluation process for GM Ryan Pace, who will be tasked with finding potential starters in the second round and beyond.
Here are six players the Bears are likely to keep a close eye on over the next several days.
Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU
Bryant profiles as an ideal fit for Matt Nagy's offense with his combination of receiver traits in a tight end's body. While he's a far cry from Travis Kelce, he'll provide Nagy with the kind of versatile pass-catcher who will be an instant mismatch against opposing linebackers and safeties. His stock is on the rise after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, and if he runs well in Indianapolis, he'll be a strong candidate for the Bears at No. 43 overall.
Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Trautman, like Bryant, had a big week of practices at the Senior Bowl and quickly shed the small-school label. He was more than comfortable going up against top senior competition and established himself as one of the top tight ends at the all-star game. He scored 14 touchdowns in 2019 and has the kind of smooth athleticism the Bears are looking for at the position. The combine is bigger for Trautman than most; he has to prove his speed and agility is among the NFL averages (or better) to completely silence the small-school chatter.
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Hall was considered a lock for the first round after the 2018 season, but his decision to return to Virginia for his senior year hurt his stock a bit. An unfortunate midseason ankle injury ended his year early and as a result, he's been a victim of the out of sight, out of mind syndrome. He can change all that with a good showing at the NFL Combine. The Bears have a bigger need at cornerback with the release of Prince Amukamara than they did at the start of the offseason, so it's a position group that will rank high on their wish list. Hall is a strong second-round prospect who brings some safety upside, too.
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Gladney is one of this year's top cornerback prospects and he may end up as a first-round pick once the dust settles. But there's always that supposed first-rounder who slides into Round 2; Gladney could be that guy. If he experiences the kind of draft-day fall that Greedy Williams (Browns) experienced last year, the Bears will be in a position to strike. Remember: Williams was projected as a first-round cornerback and arguably the best cover guy in the country but slid to No. 46 overall because of tackling and other concerns. Gladney, while not possessing as many of those red flags, could end up in Chicago's second-round range.
Hakeem Adenji, OL, Kansas
Adenji isn't an early-round prospect and that shouldn't change over the next several days. But he is a long-armed and experienced starting offensive tackle who could eventually find his home inside at guard. The Bears won't have a chance at any of the blue-chip offensive linemen in this year's class, so players like Adenji are the ones Pace has to focus on. His maximum upside may be as a swing offensive lineman in the pros, which has value especially with how injuries have hit Chicago's offensive line in recent years.
Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
Unlike Adenji, Peart is a prototype offensive tackle prospect because of his physical makeup. He has great length and movement skills that both project favorably as a potential starter on the outside. Peart could find himself in the Day 2 range come draft weekend, which means the Bears would have to spend a second-round pick on him if they don't trade back or into the third round. That may be a bit rich for Peart's skill set. If he happens to slide into the early portion of Day 3, Chicago would have to be all-in, even in a trade-up scenario.