The force plate test the Falcons put Jadeveon Clowney through on Friday is nothing new or unusual in the athletic world, except for the reported sophistication of these particular force plates and what the team is trying to do with the results of the tests.
To wit, Albert Breer's interesting Tweets from the end of the week:
Interesting note on the "force plate": Falcons and Jags have exclusive rights to use it for NFC and AFC for the next two years. ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 25, 2014
... Both Atlanta & Jacksonville put their current players thru the force test this week. Falcons have put over 100 draft prospects thru it.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 25, 2014
If there are worthwhile results to be gleaned from these tests, the Falcons and Jaguars may have a slight competitive advantage over these next two years. Being able to pull together data on 100-plus players allows you to find commonalities between those players in terms of athleticism, balance and so forth, while also allowing you to flag players who you think may have current or future red flags in terms of injury. When you're making substantial investments in players, having all the knowledge you can get is critical, and supposedly this gives the Falcons one more way to compare multiple players at the same position.
Again, we have no way of knowing how much weigh the organization is putting in the results they get, or what those results are showing them. What we do know is that the Falcons are trying to stay ahead of the curve once more—you remember the monitoring of vitals, for example—and gain any advantage they can. We just have to hope it enables them to stay away from players who have stability or injury questions and make the right choices in the 2014 NFL Draft and beyond.