Yes you can implement your own dropdown showing the list of recent projects. Check these for guide/samples
The problem is that you'll then have two drop-down menus showing a list of projects and the only way you can hide the original menu provided by JIRA might be a bit hacky - you need to create a css file which is included globally on all pages which sets the "display" of the original menu to "none".
I have multiple projects that use variations of the same base workflow. The variations depend on the requirements of the project or issue type. The variations mostly come in the form of new statuses ...
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