Cardinals general manager Steve Keim admitted to Sports Illustrated's Peter King on Sunday night that Mathieu, who was kicked off the LSU team for failing multiple drug tests, isn't the player he normally would consider drafting.
"It's uncharacteristic of our organization to take chances on guys with troubled pasts," Keim said. "But we thought this was a good player and person for us to take."
Not only will the Cardinals protect themselves by drug testing Mathieu randomly, possibly on a weekly basis, but they will construct the third-round pick's contract with no guaranteed money, according to King. Mathieu's contract will allow for roster bonuses in a move designed to protect the team if his troubles continue and they cut him.
"I'm not naive about this," Keim said. "I know the risk. But the risk to reward was enticing. His passion for the game is off the charts."
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.