One thing has become true regarding GM Ryan Pace and how he handles business every April. Pay attention to the Chicago Bears private meetings. For those who aren’t up to speed, here’s a quick recap. The NFL allows teams a total of 30 visits with draft prospects in a given class.

This means teams are allowed to pick and choose the players they most desire to get a deeper look at. Some use this as a way to create misdirection. Others a way to get more information about a certain teammate of that player they covet. Then there’s many, like Pace, who use it as a primary avenue to determine if that player fits the profile of their roster.

Over the past two drafts, the Bears have made a total of five picks in the first two rounds rounds. Four of them were confirmed to have met the team privately in Mitch Trubisky, Roquan Smith, James Daniels, and Anthony Miller. The only one who wasn’t? Tight end Adam Shaheen and he’s easily been the most questionable of that group.

Knowing this makes the current list of 2019 prospects they’ve met privately feel far more important. As of now, that number sits at 27 of 30 confirmed.

Chicago Bears private meetings have focused on two key positions

Obviously the focus for the Bears has been on prospects they believe will be available when they finally go on the clock at #87 overall in the 3rd round. However, the focus goes much deeper than that. Of the 27 names who have surfaced to this point, no fewer than 17 of them were either a running back or a defensive back.

Does this mean one of those 17 are likely to be the guy chosen when the Bears go on the clock on April 26th. Not necessarily. However, it does paint a clear picture of where their eyes are at for this class. They clearly believe they need more help in the backfield and the secondary. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

Jordan Howard was traded to Philadelphia. They likely aren’t comfortable going into the season with just Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen running the ball. Also there are genuine depth concerns at both cornerback and safety. Nobody stands out as viable options if Kyle Fuller or Prince Amukamara get hurt. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is only locked up on a one-year deal.

The Bears need to solidify the bottom half of those positions.

Three mystery prospects unaccounted for

Where the intrigue really begins though is regarding the three other names that remain unknown. Some might say the news simply hasn’t surfaced. However, those people don’t have a keen understanding of how the Bears operate. Pace has a long-standing reputation of keeping visits with players he covets the most top secret.

It was true of Trubisky back in 2017 and also Eddie Jackson, both of whom they traded up for in that same draft. There is a strong chance the Bears are keeping those three other names quiet because they don’t want to tip anybody else off that they’re interested.

Could it mean Pace is planning a move up if one of them comes within striking distance? It’s hard to know for sure, but the mystery adds some intrigue to what has been a rather boring draft buildup for the Bears.