One of the problems newcomers face is that useful information are all widespread and lacks basic consistency. I think it will be easier to engage newcomers if we organize our end better. A starting point is to expect that all Featured Projects will have a landing page with the basic project information in MediaWiki.org. Full stop. Once this landing page is in place, then they can have the rest of their information wherever they prefer, in the way it pleases to them.
By the way, I think that willingness to follow the TCG best practices could be a requirement for Featured Project. This is how we connect all the good stuff we are working on.
Explicit adoption of the Code of Conduct is another possibility (useful to promote the CoC among newcomers, also to make clear that even if some project infrastructure is out of the Wikimedia scope (GitHub etc), the CoC still applies there by decision of the project maintainers.
Consistent project info, TCG expectations and CoC adoption for all Featured Projects should help offering a better landing for newcomers.