I am trying to get a simple answer to this question - so I can explain to an end user of JIRA: In defining components, what is the difference between a project default and component lead?
The component lead is just the lead of the component. "Project default" sounds like you are speaking in the context of the default assignee; when defining a component, you can designate that the default assignee for issues created with that component be either the project default, or the component specific lead.
I'm uncertain how all of the permutations of multiple components and default assignee interact, but my rough understanding is that it will be alphabetical by component.
If you spend enough time as a Jira admin - whether you are managing a single, mid-sized instance, a large enterprise one or juggling multiple instances at once - you will eventually find yourself in ...
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