Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Sports Illustrated's Peter King on Sunday night that former Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu is not the type of player the team ordinarily drafts.
But they were willing to take the risk by grabbing the former LSU defensive back in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday.
After a stellar 2011 season, Mathieu failed several drug tests and was kicked off the team during a troubled 2012 season.
He ended up falling to the Cardinals with the 69th overall pick.
The Cardinals are hoping that Mathieu will shape up now that he is joining former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson, a star cornerback. Mathieu will play safety.
"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."
King also reported that Mathieu will have no guaranteed money when the team draws up his contract. Mathieu will earn roster bonuses instead.
"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."
Last year's 69th overall draft choice was wide receiver T.J. Graham, who was taken by the Buffalo Bills. Graham reportedly signed a four-year contract with a $671,000 bonus.