Abstract — We study grain-scale mechanical and geometrical features of partially crystallized packings of frictional spheres, produced experimentally by a vibrational protocol. By combining x-ray computed tomography, 3D image analysis, and discrete element method simulations, we have access to the 3D structure of internal forces. We investigate how the network of mechanical contacts and intergranular forces change when the packing structure evolves from amorphous to near perfect crystalline arrangements. We compare the behavior of the geometrical neighbors (quasicontracts) of a grain to the evolution of the mechanical contacts. The mechanical coordination number Zm is a key parameter characterizing the crystallization onset. The high fluctuation level of Zm and of the force distribution in highly crystallized packings reveals that a geometrically ordered structure still possesses a highly random mechanical backbone similar to that of amorphous packings.