(CNN)It's that time of year when hope is plentiful and everything looks a bit brighter.
Yes, it is the beginning of spring, but it is also the start of the NFL offseason whose first major event is the scouting combine.
The showpiece stage for draft hopefuls welcomes the beginning of prediction season and marks when last year's disappointments change into this year's reasons for optimism.
Stars can solidify their status at the top while unheralded prospects can surprise everyone with their athletic displays; it is impossible to predict what will happen when this year's standout college players are put through their paces at the invitation-only affair.
So before the biggest event for teams to evaluate players ahead of next month's draft in Kansas City, here's all you need to know about this year's combine:
How to watch
The NFL scouting combine is the pinnacle for many prospects hoping to be drafted into the professional league so they will be aiming to impress on the biggest stage.
Coverage of the scouting combine is exclusively shown on the NFL Network, which will broadcast all four days.
'The ultimate four-day job interview'
As is tradition, this year's combine is held in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis -- the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Having begun in 1982 when Indianapolis-based National Football Scouting Inc. (NFS) conducted the first National Invitational Camp in Florida, it has blossomed from hosting 163 players in its inaugural edition to over 300 expected this year -- the NFL said that 319 prospects were invited.
Representatives from all 32 NFL teams will be in attendance -- from front office staff and coaches to scouts.
It is held over four days from Thursday, March 2, to Sunday, March 5, with each position group getting their own dedicated portion to showcase their skill sets in front of the watching media and NFL teams.
Defensive linemen and linebackers begin proceedings on Thursday before defensive backs try their hand on Friday.